What is EcoHack?

Solve Local Environmental & Sustainability Problems

We know that the best solutions to almost any problem come from multidisciplinary and diverse teams...so why not reframe the traditional hackathon model to reflect this?

EcoHack is an immersive multi-day experience where innovators, tinkerers, and makers from various degree programs collaborate using a rapid-iteration design model to generate viable solutions to a problem of their choosing, that fits within the City of Saskatoon's theme of "The Social Impacts of Climate Change".

These solutions can take many forms: a marketing plan, an innovative business idea, software development, a physical product idea, etc. The varied solutions from multiple industries/disciplines highlight the intersectional nature of environment and sustainability challenges.

By the end of the event, our participants will have collaborated with community partners to solve a tangible real-world problem by leveraging the skills and abilities of their interdisciplinary colleagues. With the opportunity to take part in immersive experiential learning, network with relevant organizations in their community, and gain insight into how their academic disciplines can translate into real-world businesses and solutions, EcoHack is the perfect match for any student looking to make a difference.

Need more information? Read our extended info sheet below.

2020 Challenge

The theme for EcoHack 2020, as provided by our organizing partners at the City of Saskatoon, is:

The Social Impacts of Climate Change

This challenge was inspired by the City's existing planning in this area, which includes:

Utility affordability and energy poverty

  • Analyze the affordability of corporate utilities from a social-equity lens and define options to improve affordability.
New services
  • Identify potential new services or changing service levels required due to exacerbated social inequities.

Climate change migration

  • Analyze the impacts of “climate refugee” migration to Saskatoon on population growth and service

Example Problems

Some examples problem statements might include:

  1. How might we increase resilience for low-income families impacted by extreme climate events like flooding? #Engineering #PoliticalScience #Economics #Sociology
  2. How might we keep homeless (or low-income) residents safe and healthy through increasingly extreme summer and winter temperatures? #Engineering #PoliticalScience #Sociology #HealthSciences
  3. How might we lessen the impacts of worsening air pollution for the city’s vulnerable populations? #Environment #Sociology #Healthsciences #Law
  4. As the number of extreme wind and storm events increases, how might we protect vulnerable populations from the health and safety impacts of these natural phenomena? #Engineering #Environment #HealthSciences
  5. How might we reduce this cost-barrier to low-income families looking to help adapt for climate change? #Engineering #ComputerScience #PoliticalScience #Economics #Business
  6. How might the city best prepare for an influx of new climate refugee populations? #Planning #PoliticalScience #Sociology #Business #Marketing
  7. How might we best prepare the city for a province of struggling/unemployed farmers dealing with the agricultural impacts of climate change? #Agriculture #Economics #PoliticalScience #ComputerScience #Business
  8. How might we help low-income families prepare their homes to live in a future of extreme heat events? #Engineering #Economics #PoliticalScience #ComputerScience
  9. How might we mitigate the rise in social and economic inequality associated with the impacts of climate change? #Economics #PoliticalScience #Sociology #Planning #Business #Law
  10. How might we best prepare for climate change bringing new illnesses and disease vectors to our city? #HealthSciences #Environment #Marketing #Communications #Sociology

Who Can Participate?

EcoHack will be open to anyone who wants to innovate, tinker, and make things! Both undergraduate and graduate students are invited to participate, and we are excited to get students involved from a wide variety of disciplines. The broader the experience at the table, the better the possibilities for solutions.


EcoHack 2020 Schedule Image

Professional Development

EcoHack isn't just a fun design challenge. We offer many opportunities for professional development during the week. In addition to our organizing partners at the City of Saskatoon being available for questions, we'll be offering the following interactive PD sessions over the course of the week:

  • Design Thinking and Creative Ideation
  • Communications and How to Pitch
  • Teamwork and Facilitating Constructive Disagreement
  • Video Communication and Production

Our facilitators will be there to offer their expertise and advice, in addition to being open to any and all of your questions.


EcoHack 2020 will be hosted remotely.


EcoHack 2020 registration is now open at the Eventbrite link below.


Organizing Partners

Our primary Organizing Partner for EcoHack 2020 is the City of Saskatoon, who has provided the following theme for our design challenge this year:

"The Social Impacts of Climate Change"