PM greets young hackers
Tells student Hackathoners at UW they are the positive change Canada needs
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.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets the crowd inside Hagey Hall theatre while giving the opening address at Hack the North Friday.