Hacks with Friends

Get Ready for Hacks with Friends - March 1-2, 2018

A hack event for staff across all of Michigan IT

Sponsored by the U-M Office of the Vice President for IT and CIO, Hacks with Friends (HWF) is a spirited two day hack event where you are encouraged to break out of your normal routine and have some fun doing what you do best! Form a team, build a project (a.k.a. “hack”) from beginning to end and show it off in a fun, friendly competition. Who knows - you might start something that could develop into new technology that would benefit the whole university!

Access materials and videos from the event

Pitches, winning projects as well as recordings of all the livestreamed events (opening remarks, 3-minute presentations, final presentations, and awards) will be available to view on this site later this month.

Let’s Get Specific

Who can participate?
Hacks with Friends is open to any and all IT professionals who work at U-M. It is a great opportunity to meet new people, build something new, and strengthen the IT community across campus. Whoever you are... Whatever your passion...Developers, Analysts, UX, Service Center Specialists, Security Specialists, Trainers, Desktop Support, Project Mgrs, Designers, or Brainstormers… We want you to be a part of it!

Our Location
The 2018 Hacks with Friends will meet once again at the Ross School of Business. The response to having it at the Ross School last year was overwhelming and we look forward to an even better event this year. Each team will be assigned to a separate study lounge with a large screen display, whiteboard and conference table.

The Schedule (Subject to change)

Pitch Ideas for Hacks

Thank you to all who have submitted pitches for the 2018 Hacks with Friends. We received a total of

23 pitches this year,  six more than we had for the 2017 event!

If you have registered for the Hacks with Friends event, we invite you to take the time to review the submitted pitches and get an idea of which team you would like to join. If you have been waiting to register, now is the time to sign up to participate.

View Submitted Pitches

Note: Brainstorming with others prior to the event is acceptable, but no pre-work allowed.

2018 Hack Themes

Pitches for Hacks with Friends must relate to one of six pre-selected hack themes for this year’s event. These themes provide an array of possibilities where information technology could make an impact. While your pitch should relate to one of the themes, get creative and use new technology. Imagine ways you can make a difference in one of these themes through IT.

  • Teaching and Learning
  • Academic Innovation
  • Healthcare and BioSciences
  • Research
  • IT Operations (Improve quality or efficiency of existing IT processes)
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

Introducing the Judges

Our judges for the 2018 Hacks with Friends are:

  • Andrew Rosenberg, M.D.
    • Associate Professor of Anesthesiology & Internal Medicine
    • Chief Information Officer for Michigan Medicine
    • Interim Vice President for IT, and CIO for University of Michigan
  • M.S Krishnan, PhD
    • Associate Dean for Executive Programs, Stephen M Ross School of Business
    • Accenture Professor of Computer and Information Systems
    • Professor of Technology and Operations
  • Stephen Stefanac, DDS.
    • Senior Associate Dean for the School of Dentistry


We're looking forward to a fun and exciting event! If you would like to contribute to making Hacks with Friends a success, please consider volunteering to help with the event.

  • Champion the Event - Commitment: Attend event, 2 hours / month to promote
    We need champions from around campus to promote the event (using materials we will provide), encourage staff to pitch and attend!
  • Join the Planning Team - Commitment: Attend event, bi-weekly planning meeting, 1 hour / week outside meeting
    Want to help with the planning team? We have a wide variety of roles, from event logistics to website, communications, onsite setup, etc.
  • Help during the Event - Commitment: Flexible!
    Can you volunteer on the day of the event? We will need help with registration, questions, etc. Help for an hour or two or all day each day.

To volunteer email hackswithfriends@umich.edu.

The Evolution of Hacks with Friends

Hacks with Friends is not a new idea. It is an evolution of an idea that began in 2013 with “MSIS Hack Day.” The energy created from having a hack event for campus IT professionals grew. In the spring of 2015 an expanded Hacks with Friends event was tested. Participants from ITS, MCIT, and the School Dentistry joined in the fun. The success of that event paved the way for the Office of the CIO to open the invitation to the entire Michigan IT community and begin sponsoring Hack with Friends on an annual basis.

Visit our archive of hack events below for a look at how it all started and to get an idea of what to expect.

Hacks with Friends Planning Team

  • Kerry Flynn - Ross IT
  • Javan Thompson - HITS
  • Christopher Visel - Ross IT
  • Joel Iverson - ITS
  • Gretchen Kopmanis - LSA
  • Rodney Nelson - HITS
  • Mandie Chapman - ITS
  • Mark Personett - ITS
  • Dan Burgess - ITS
  • Tom Amerman - ITS
  • Thomas Murphy - ICPSR
  • Daniel Fessahazion - Emerging Technologies Group

Create • Build relationships • Share your talents • Have fun