4th Annual Datathon for Social Good: An Exploration into Environmental Justice & Urban Sciences

Earth Hacks
3 min readDec 9, 2022

Note: This blog post by Catherine Chu, Bella Chang, and Preetha Kumar — organizers of the Datathon for Social Good Vuksic — an event which Earth Hacks supported as a partner — originally appeared on the Data Science Society at Berkeley’s Medium Page. It is re-posted here with the author’s permission.

By: Catherine Chu, Bella Chang, & Preetha Kumar

This past weekend, data science clubs Data Science Society at Berkeley, Big Data at Berkeley, SAAS Berkeley, and CSUA held the 4th annual Datathon for Social Good. The three-day event provided students the opportunity to explore the interdisciplinary applications of data science through the intersection of technology and social good. Each year, the Datathon focuses on a central topic in relation to social good — this year’s themes were Environmental Justice and Urban Sciences. The partners, Earth Hacks (an environmental justice non-profit) and Cal Data (a government operations agency) provided datasets for students to create data science projects with. Ultimately, the Datathon for Social Good aimed to show the applicability and accessibility of data science to any field, be it environmental studies or government.

Projects this year uncovered a broad scope of interdisciplinary topics and data-backed techniques, ranging from predictive machine learning models, to Figma visualizations, to policy proposals. Teams engaged in research, analysis, and presentation of their work, showcasing their final deliverables before a panel of judges with various data science backgrounds and experiences.

Datathon for Social Good Fall 2022 Judges

We would like to extend special thanks to our judges for their time and dedication, doing the most to understand, reflect on, and discuss each and every student project proposal. They generously offered their vast expertise, inspired entry and exploration into the complex, exciting world of data science, and stretched the horizons of our perspectives and thinking. Our judges’ passion for their work and giving back to the Berkeley community is what makes events like this possible. We’d also like to thank our sponsors — Deepnote, Beezwax, and Wolfram Alpha — without whom this year’s Datathon would not be possible.

Students watch a presentation prepared by Cal Data during the Datathon Kickoff event on Friday evening

Finally, we would like to once again congratulate our Datathon winners, who blew us away with remarkable findings and designs:

Environmental Justice Track

1st Place

Is there a link between drinking water quality and socioeconomic status in schools?

Albert Lee

2nd Place

Risk Prediction for Social Good: Guiding Public Policy

Nossaiba Kheiri, Eve Margolis

Judges Prize: Best Vision for a Solution

Superspotter

Jalen Gooch, Kira Wiesinger, Sarah Taylor

Judges Prize: Best Presentation

Bridging the Rooftop Solar Gap

Rushi Patel, Ayush Panta, Asutosh Jain, Michael Lo

Urban Sciences Track

1st Place

Legislative Policies on Potable Water Consumption in California, 2022

Aditi Shyam Sunder, Pranav Dogra, Elia Wong

2nd Place

Transit and Housing in California

Gain Boonvanich, Anita Ding, Yixin Huang, Yehchan Yoo

Judges Prize: Biggest Picture Thinkers

The Effectiveness of Railways on Carbon Emissions

Marc Karimi, Jameson Crate, Cedric Chan, Ethan Luu

To everyone who participated in, helped out, and showed support for this Annual Datathon for Social Good — we are incredibly grateful for and in awe of the enthusiasm, talent, and diligence revealed this weekend! We hope that this event was a noteworthy experience that excited you about the potential of data science, particularly its interconnectedness with key, worldly social issues. This only marks the beginning of all of our data science journeys, so we encourage you all to make the most of what you have learned and continue to accomplish amazing feats!

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