Mayor Weinberger & Code for BTV Host Panel About Getting Students Into Civic Hacking: Grass Rootsiness Ensues

Photo by James Lockridge.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, Code for America Brigade Captains Bradley Holt and Jason Pelletier, and representatives from Burlington-area higher education institutions joined together today at the Generator Maker Space from 2pm-4pm to form a panel to discuss how to engage students in civic hacking through Code for BTV. Civic hacking is an effort to improve communities by helping people participate in technology projects that serve society, and is an opportunity for students to gain experience by working on real-world projects and engaging with their community.

The panelists and audience discussed ways to integrate civic hacking into curriculum, 'extrinsic' motivations for students to participate in civic hacking (e.g. grades), and intrinsic motivations for students to participate in civic hacking (e.g. career and skills development). Bradley Holt guided the conversation with questions that the panelists, including Big Heavy World director James Lockridge, answered — with lots of Q&A with the audience, who were all interested in or already participating in community technology projects or tech literacy efforts.

Mayor Weinberger noted in his introduction that the City of Burlington is benefitting from civic hacking projects throughout the various city departments, and was thoughtful about imagining that today's panel might be expanded in the Fall.

The new Big Heavy World site began construction during Code for BTV's National Day of Civic Hacking hackathon event in June of 2013 and continues to be built by volunteer coders at Code for BTV's monthly meetups and weekly at the Big Heavy World office. Read about how civic hackers built — and build! —Big Heavy World at and connect with Code for BTV to get involved in any of the many ongoing non-commercial community coding projects!

In the photo: Back Row (left to right): Christy Mitchell, Maxx Vick (Big Heavy World AmeriCorps Member), Michael Metz (President, Generator Maker Space), Jason Pelletier (Brigade Captain, Code for BTV), Maggie Eppstein (UVM Professor and Computer Science Chairperson), Kerry Swift, Anders Melen. Front row, (left to right): Alan Chu (UVM student, Boys & Girls Club volunteer),  Bradley Holt (Brigade Captain, Code for BTV), Alex Chaffee.