A Student’s Perspective: Rappathon- Hacking for Change: A New Way of Collaboration

Mehrunnisa Wani is a student at Columbia’s School of Journalism. She is one of ten students providing on the ground coverage of SMWNYC- all from the student’s perspective. She is providing her report from Rappathon- Hacking for Change: A New Way of Collaboration.

“What’s the best thing you’ve created? I don’t know. Come around tomorrow.” – Camilo LaCruz

Believe it or not, the ingredients for social change are collaboration, creative minds, and a days worth of idea generating.

With their collaborative methodology RAPP hosted it’s first rappathon workshop, tailored to bring developers and designers together to explore concepts that might someday enrich thousands, if not millions, of lives.

In league, they worked towards creating technology that could work for the people, by the people. This hackathon, much like the others sprouting across the tech scene, are increasingly involving people.

After pairing up individuals and a tidbit of mix –and-matching, groups moved from station to station picking up where the last team left off so others could expand on the idea or share their two cents.

The web apps that came out of this aimed to improve the lives of individuals, or at the very least assist people in some regard. One of the ideas yielded was a map that would track a daily commute, keeping in mind the money, number of calories burned, and the carbon footprint. This would be linked to a social network, which would inform friends, family, coworkers of the commute and in the end, the data would be accumulated over a period of time so that the commuter can ascertain what method is cheaper, less time-consuming, or less arduous.

The apps weren’t launched but the organizers graciously shared the ideas in hopes of someone developing it. It’s still about experimentation and there are still ways of transforming life. If there is a social need, an app can fulfill it.



Mehrunnisa Wani hails from Kashmir, India. She is currently a masters candidate at the Columbia School of Journalism learning to report stories in various mediums, all the while familiarizing herself with the digital media boom so she can utilize those skills to connect the world one story at a time. In the future she hopes to cover conflict zones, learn to code and change the world – simultaneously. She resides in Queens, New York. Follow her on @mehrwani.

Empowering Change Through Collaboration

copyright (c) Tom Giebel

Following mass gatherings around the world in Spain and the Middle East, over the past month New York City has found itself in the center of a growing sense of American discontent. Whether a supporter of the cause(s) or not, one cannot deny the reach that the occupation of Wall Street and, on a larger level, NYC has extended. Now spanning over 1000 cities globally, NYC has become a focal point of mobilization of groups around the world crying for social change.

As we lead up to Social Media Week February, our global theme of Empowering Change Through Collaboration is increasingly evident. We are excited to delve into the role that social media plays in change. To help us elucidate on the global theme, author and luminary Don Tapscott will be releasing bi-weekly discussions on a number of topics where we can empower change through collaboration.

In addition to Don’s regular discussions, we will be examining how this is playing out locally- here in NYC. Keeping in line with our global theme, we’ll be examining areas of Education & Learning, Health & Wellness, Energy & Environment, Politics & Government, Media & Entertainment, Science & Technology, Banking & Finance, Transportation & Mobility, Art & Culture and Marketing & Advertising.













And we want your participation. There are various ways you can get involved with Social Media Week NYC–from small contributions to linchpin roles.

  • Become a Hub Partner.
    If you or your company is interested in spearheading the conversation around one of our core areas this February, consider being a Content Hub! We’re looking for organizations that embody these areas and are thinking creatively around these pivotal topics. Email us for more details.
  • Submit an Event.
    Our first set of events will be released November 15th–submit your event now and have yours be on that list. Spice things up by considering an interactive discussion, moving sessions, or gaming elements in addition to the standard panels. Looking for ideas?
    Check out some posts by our own Ben Scheim and Toby Daniels.
  • Become a Sponsor.
    If you are looking to play a larger role in NYC’s Social Media Week, consider our various sponsorship opportunities with customized packages for exposure and promotion, from local to multi-city to global levels. Additionally, Social Media Week’s core objective is to provide content and information to attendees through open and free sessions–your sponsorship help makes SMW happen. Learn more about the opportunities available here.
  • Volunteer.
    Making sure all those innovative events run smoothly takes a lot of hands. If you are more of a behind-the-scenes person, consider helping our team out! We’re looking for some amazing volunteers who are organized, self-starters, friendly and energetic to help with everything from pre-February organization to week of logistics. If that sounds like you, sign up here.

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be sharing more in-depth info on how you can take part, featuring New Yorkers who are empowering change through collaboration in these various roles. In the meantime, please share your thoughts with us about the global theme and what can be done in New York to create sustainable change- and the role you see social media playing.

We’re all looking forward to the best Social Media Week yet.