ride for roswell1

Hacking Away at Cancer

October 26, 2013

Ride for RoswellOn Monday, Oct. 7, over 75 web professionals came together for HigherEdWeb’s first Hackathon. Their goal was to create a new website for the Ride for Roswell and to be able to connect the site with their fundraising systems.

The redesigned website will make The Ride site mobile-friendly and simpler for users to navigate.  “An improved website design will not only enhance the Ride experience for our participants and supporters, but will hopefully increase our fundraising capability so that we can continue to support Roswell Park’s mission to find cures and save lives,” said Ride Director Bryan Sidorowicz.

The Hackathon started at 7 pm with an overview of the project from Dr. Donald L. Trump, president and CEO of Roswell Park Cancer Institute with an in depth overview of the current two sites that will be merged together, and an intro of the RPCI team at the event. After the intro, the participants sorted themselves into working groups (developers, designers, content strategy etc.) and began a series of sprints to achieve tasks in a coordinated manner.  By midnight a basic IA and content review was complete, a CSS framework was proposed and the developers settled in to draft the site in WordPress and connect to the fundraising data sources. Fueled by Red Bull, Beef on Weck and Buffalo chicken wings, several volunteers worked until 4am.

2013 Hackathon

“I was intrigued by the Hackathon, but I’m not a coder, so I wasn’t sure if I could help. But a colleague said they needed all skill sets and talked me into going, I am glad she did because it was such an amazing experience,” said Kristin Greenberg, Director of Web Communications at DeSales University. “At the Hackathon, everyone just came together and got it done. Different approaches and styles were worked out and mashed together in lightning speed. It was almost magical. You looked around the room and saw all these people just dedicating their time and skills for a common cause — I’m so proud to have been a part of this experience and to have had the chance to work with such a tremendous group of professionals.”

2013 Hackathon

“Over 400 man-hours were donated that night,” said Mark Greenfield, HeWeb13 Conference Chair, “And we believe that we created a strong framework for the RPCI team to build upon. It was amazing to see what happened in the Hyatt and to give back to our host city in this way.”

The RPCI web team is currently evaluating the data provided and creating their next steps to launch the new site this winter. “We appreciate what happened at the Hackathon,” said Michael Gonzalez, Director Online Business & Marketing Development, Roswell Park Cancer Institute. “Our team is currently reviewing all of the materials from that night to determine exactly what we have and our next steps.  The API integration with Blackbaud, developed Monday night, was a bonus above and beyond the web site conversion process started by the volunteers.”

Photos courtesy HighEdWeb.

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