Hacks with Friends

Get Ready for Hacks with Friends - March 2-3, 2017

Register today to participate in Hacks with Friends March 2–3, 2017

A hack event for staff across all of Michigan IT.

Sponsored by U-M Vice President for IT and CIO, Kelli Trosvig, 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!

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 Managers, Designers, or Brainstormers... We want you to be a part of it!

Our Location

This year Hacks with Friends will meet at the Ross School of Business. Each team will be assigned to a separate study lounge with a large screen display, whiteboard and conference table.

The Schedule

  • Pitch Ideas for Hacks: Monday, February 13 – Monday, February 27
    Do you have an idea for a hack? Submit your pitch for a hack project through an online form to entice colleagues to join your team. Briefly describe the concept, create a short video, list out the skill sets you are looking for to be successful, and fit your pitch into one of the 2017 Hack Themes.

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

  • Hacks with Friends Day 1: Thursday, March 2
    8 a.m.     Check in and light breakfast
    9 a.m.     Welcome and opening remarks by Kelli Trosvig, Vice President for Information Technology and CIO
    9:15 a.m.–5 p.m     Hacks
    After a bite to eat and a brief welcome and overview of the day, you will align yourself to a team and start building your hack! Cross-organizational teams are strongly encouraged!

  • Hacks with Friends Day 2: Friday, March 3
    8 a.m.–11:30 a.m.     Hacks continues
    12:30–4 p.m     Voting, judging, and awards
    Complete your hacks and prepare a presentation to show off what you've built to the judging panel. Judging will take place from 3–4 p.m. Awards and prizes finish off the day.

2017 Hack Themes

Pitches for Hacks with Friends must relate to one of seven pre-selected hack themes for this year's event. Six come from President Schlissel's Areas of Focus for the university. The seventh ties directly to IT service delivery. 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. For example, you could try something fun with Machine Learning, the Cloud or Dev Ops!

Review each theme. Get inspired. Imagine ways you can make a difference in one of these themes through IT.

  • Academic Innovation - where creativity, comprehensive excellence and our aspirations for societal impact all come together at the University of Michigan. More information
  • Biosciences - strategies that will propel Michigan to the forefront in critical areas of life science research by optimally leveraging our comprehensive excellence. More information
  • Campus Climate - help to provide the safest possible environment for students at the University of Michigan, and address and prevent sexual misconduct is a vital part of this commitment, and of our work together. More information
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - to ensure that each member of our community has full opportunity to thrive in our environment, for we believe that diversity is key to individual flourishing, educational excellence and the advancement of knowledge. More information
  • Environment and Sustainability - address the issue of sustainability from a very broad base of research and education perspectives, as well as through the actions we take as a community of more than 80,000 individuals. More information
  • Poverty Solutions - to inform, seek out, and test new strategies for preventing and alleviating poverty. More information
  • Improving IT Service Delivery - to eliminate waste in IT development & delivery.

Introducing the Judges

Our judges for the 2017 Hacks with Friends are:

  • Kelli Trosvig, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
  • Barry Fishman, Ph.D., Arthur F Thurnau Professor, Professor of Education, and Professor of Information
  • Andrew Rosenberg, M.D., Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Interim Chief Medical Information Officer


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, biweekly 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

  • Mark Personett - ITS
  • Nancy Herlocher - LSA
  • Kerry Flynn - Ross IT
  • Christopher Visel - Ross IT
  • Gretchen Kopmanis - LSA
  • Mandie Chapman - ITS
  • Steven Summers - UMHS
  • Dan Burgess - ITS
  • Carrie Shumaker - DBN ITS
  • Joel Iverson - ITS
  • Dan Heyse - ITS

Questions and More Information

  • Send questions, feedback and ideas to: hackswithfriends@umich.edu
  • Start tweeting about it now using #hackswithfriends and #MichiganIT

This year's Hacks with Friends is sponsored by ITS and HITS and made possible by the efforts of volunteers from across the Michigan IT community. To learn more about how to get involved in Michigan IT, visit the Office of the CIO website.

Create • Build relationships • Share your talents • Have fun