We're happy to announce that our first CRUNCH Hackathon of the semester was a wild success. The focus of the event was Transmedia Branding for Environmental Awareness.

Andrew Schrock, research assistant and project coordinator for CRUNCH Hackathon, attributes much of the event's success to a "unique combination of the right tools for the right problem."

Raising environmental awareness is a constant problem that organizations have tried to tackle through advertising, publicity, and public information messages, among other strategies. Transmedia offers a new perspective on an ongoing, important issue.

"The benefit of utilizing transmedia," said Schrock, "is that it ties people together, and involves them in a much larger narrative."

Team members stuck around throughout the 24-hour Hackathon event. Two teams stayed all night working through their project's issues. Mentors and judges were exceptionally helpful, offering constructive feedback to each team as they brainstormed their ideas and prepared to present them.

The final concepts of the teams ranged from high-tech to low-tech. Some involved wear-ables such as clothing, and one project involved an interactive digital technology mounted on the Goodyear blimp.

It was a well-deserved win for a group of talented, driven undergraduate students at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. The team, affectionately titled "Smog Dragons" included Sonia Guggenheim, Luna White, Althea Capra, and Alex Zelenty.

CRUNCH Hackathon awarded the winning team with three Nexus 7 tablets, a six-month membership to WeWork, priority admission to USC's Spring 2013 Digital Design Innovation Course, and a $2,500 stipend for the class.

The Judges who reviewed each innovative project included Kamal Sinclair, Senior Manager, New Frontier Story Lab at Sundance Institute; Aaron Koblin, Creative Director of the Data Arts Team at Google; Shauna Nep, Social Innovation Manager at Goldhirsh Foundation; and Erin Reilly, Creative Director of the Annenberg Innovation Lab.

The Digital Innovation Design course will gather an elite team of student groups and from conception to prototyping of an innovative product or service.

WeWork, a shared workspace/incubator for tech startups, was generous enough to open their Hollywood offices and provide a space for the teams to collaborate.

The incredible people of WeWork will offer student discounts, [awaiting details] to young entrepreneurs or engineers looking for a space to build on their ideas.