Who can participate?

The ScopeAthon is open to the entire University of Chicago community as well as interested community members working anywhere from the public/non-profit sector to the private sector.

Participants will come from various backgrounds, including, but not limited to, computer science, political science and public policy, economics, geography, visual art, and civic innovation and leadership.

Do I need to know how to code?

No. We want a diverse array of skills present at the Scopeathon, which means that even if you can’t code, we want you there!

Is there a competition? Are there prizes?

Teams will present their work to a panel of expert judges and compete for prestige at the end of the day on Sunday. The real prize for our Civic Scopeathon is the opportunity for teams to continue their work after the Scopeathon. While there is no formal pipeline from the Scopeathon to project completion, representatives from the Community Action Bureau, the Tech TeamSouth Side Civic, and other affiliated institutions will be present at the ScopeAthon.

What is this problem-scoping thing? Do you have an example?

Here’s an example of a civic problem and successful solution:

Problem/objective: A maternal health provider wants to optimize locations for birth-outcomes clinics given limited resources
Data: Birth outcomes data, census tract data
Improved Technique: Switching from analysis by county to analysis by census tract
Solution: Build a map by census tract that better illustrates the number and proportion of birth outcomes in a given area

Here are examples of the types of projects we won’t be working on:

Data exploration without a question/problem in mind (i.e. “Here’s all of our data, now tell us something!”)
Building a website or app/making your website/app prettier

Do I need a laptop?

A laptop will be useful on both days.

Do I have to stay the whole time on both days?

The activities across the two days build upon one another to provide a “problem-scoping toolkit” by the end of the event. Coming for just the afternoon or just the morning will diminish your opportunity to fully engage in the Scopeathon. So, email us if you have concerns about scheduling conflicts.

Who’s planning this and how can I get involved?

The Civic Scopeathon is a joint effort with South Side Civic, a CAPP student-led group, UChicago’s Department of Computer Science, and the Harris School of Public Policy.
Contact ChicagoSouthSideCivic@gmail.com to learn more, or volunteer at the event!