It is time to make some real change.
India has reported more than 19 million cases of the novel coronavirus - second only to the U.S. The death toll is reported to be at a quarter of a million, however, the real number is most definitely higher - not to mention that there's a lack of testing and tracing, as well. To make matters worse, Indian healthcare services, clinics, and hospitals are completely overwhelmed and way over their capacity. The situation has gotten to the point where they have faced multiple oxygen shortages.
This, by all means, is a global crisis.
It is not just a crisis affecting a developing country and this is definitely not a crisis that we should just idly stand by and watch on the sidelines as spectators. Thoughts and prayers, although a kind sentiment, are not enough. It is time to make some real change. Despite what others may tell you, we are more than capable of helping, but we can only do it if we are all working towards it together. The Hack+Policy Foundation has an amazing community of driven and like-minded youth with the vision of bridging the gap between STEAM and the liberal arts. There is no better nor pressing time to put our money where our mouth is by leveraging our many collective talents than now.
What will it look like?
Our inaugural event, MERGE 2021, was a hack+policython. We decided to expand our community, our goals, and our vision to bring an initiative that will hopefully help ameliorate the current situation in India via MERGExIndia. Things will be a little different this time around, however. Along with having our tracks related to the health crisis in India, we will also be separating submissions into hack and policy submissions respectively, as opposed to combining the two. This entails that you and your team may choose to solely focus on one or the other, or even both. Additionally, there will be no designated tracks, however, all submissions must be relevant to the health crisis in India.
> What's a hack+policython? A hack+policython is an event that gives an opportunity for students in STEM and liberal arts to work together and create projects to solve real-world problems.
> How much does it cost to attend? $0. We are a registered nonprofit in both Canada and the U.S., and we are committed to providing this experience for free, and for all.
> Who runs this event? Our event is run by high school students from all over the world!
> Who can participate in MERGExIndia? All students in high school or post-secondary from anywhere around the world is encouraged to participate!
> How are the teams going to look like? Each team consists of up to 5 people, or you can also participate solo. You can create your team before the event, but each member must submit their own application.
> What if I don't have a team? If you don't have a team, don't worry! There will be opportunities to connect with others and form your team prior to the event. You also have the option to go solo!
> What will submissions look like for a hack+policython? Teams have the option of presenting a hack project, a policy brief or both (Fusion), giving teams more flexibility regarding what they want to make. However, all projects must be related to the current health crisis in India caused by the pandemic. More details on submission requirements for each of the tracks will be announced soon!
> What if I don't know how to code? Don't worry! There will be introductory workshops and mentors available at the event. In addition, if you are focusing on policy, you are not required to program at all!
> What should I bring? Since this is a virtual event, you will have the opportunity of enjoying our event from your home! All we require is a stable internet connection and an electronic device capable of accessing the internet. If you require any assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us as we have more options available for you.
> Where will the event be held? We will use Discord as our main platform of communication with workshops hosted on Zoom.