PM greets young hack­ers

Tells stu­dent Hackathon­ers at UW they are the pos­i­tive change Canada needs

Waterloo Region Record - - LOCAL - Anam Latif, Record staff alatif@there­cord.com, Twit­ter: @Lat­ifRecord

WATER­LOO — Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau took a lit­tle de­tour from his whirl­wind day in Mon­treal to greet an au­di­to­rium packed with young hack­ers at Univer­sity of Water­loo for a week­end-long hackathon on Fri­day night.

“I’m re­ally sort of jeal­ous of the week­end you guys are about to em­bark upon, this might be old news to some of you, but I re­ally get a kick out of this stuff,” Trudeau told them.

“I love to fid­dle around with gad­gets,” the prime min­is­ter said in his brief ap­pear­ance at the event’s open­ing cer­e­monies.

Hack the North draws hun­dreds of stu­dents from top uni­ver­si­ties around the world to come to­gether and cre­ate new hard­ware projects and web ap­pli­ca­tions and see their ideas come to life.

The univer­sity cam­pus was buzzing with ex­cite­ment as stu­dents gath­ered press passes and filled Hagey Hall for the hack­ing event’s open­ing cer­e­monies to hear Trudeau speak.

What bet­ter way to kick-start a 36-hour long hackathon?

Trudeau said he saw a room full of cre­ative lead­ers and nat­u­ral risk tak­ers who are in a po­si­tion to shape the coun­try’s fu­ture with their in­no­va­tive ideas.

“We need you to tackle some of the most press­ing chal­lenges fac­ing your com­mu­ni­ties and your coun­try,” he told them.

“When I look around this room I see young peo­ple us­ing their abil­ity not only to adapt, but to thrive in a world that is con­stantly chang­ing, con­stantly be­ing dis­rupted.”

Cheers erupted from the crowd of about 1,000 stu­dents as Trudeau spoke about Canada’s strength of diver­sity and in­no­va­tion.

“Com­pa­nies like Google and Mi­crosoft have cho­sen Canada be­cause our peo­ple are ed­u­cated, am­bi­tious and in­no­va­tive, which is good news for all of you,” he said.

“So when you’re start­ing a busi­ness or look­ing to change the world, re­mem­ber that you can do both right here in Canada. In fact, this is one of the best places in the world to do ei­ther of those things.”

Af­ter the 36 hours of hack­ing, work­shops, snack and team build­ing breaks, about 250 stu­dent teams will present their cre­ations to a panel of in­dus­try ex­perts on Sun­day.

Now in its fourth year, Hackathon was started by a stu­dent-run non­profit called Techyon, in part­ner­ship with Water­loo en­gi­neer­ing and is now in its fourth year.

DAVID BEBEE, RECORD STAFF

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau greets the crowd in­side Hagey Hall theatre while giv­ing the open­ing ad­dress at Hack the North Fri­day.

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