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Saturday & Sunday

April 10-11th

Register Below

Free and open to everyone. Beginners and community members welcome!

Design for America is a 501(c)3 non-profit and student-run organization tackling social issues using the human-centered design process.

Email us at the link below for questions, concerns, or if you just want to say hi!

Social Hack 2021

Rethinking Essential Work Post-Pandemic

Social Hack 2021 is a virtual mini-conference hosted by Design for America at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that focuses on how we can approach making change with a human-centered perspective. This year’s theme encourages participants to think about how to use design thinking (aka human-centered design) and how we go about doing work for “social good” when rebuilding a new normal post-COVID-19.

We will be touching on capitalist design’s role in systemic inequalities Black and Brown people have been facing as users and employees of essential work.

We draw the bounds of Essential Work in this context from the National Conference of State Legislatures:

  • Energy
  • Child care
  • Water and wastewater
  • Agriculture and food production
  • Critical retail
  • Critical trades
  • Transportation
  • Non-profits and social services orgs

Participants will learn what design thinking is, when to use it, and it’s limitations in the scope of community impact. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from speakers, attend workshops, and actively reflect on how design is used. Both days are structured similarly, with talks in the mornings and interactive workshops in the afternoon.

From the list on the left, we’ll be touching on transportation, food and agriulture, and healthcare during Social Hack.


Following the workshops and discussions, attendees have the chance to submit scholarship essays based on what they learned and can apply in the future. These are aimed to support people dedicated to making impact, and compensate those reflecting on how they want to affect change given the information from this event. Applicants must be a student of the University of Illinois.


Who can/should attend?

Anyone! The content of the event has been ~designed~ for beginners to HCD and people who think about how they go about their work.

Where is this located?

Zoom. A link will be sent out to people registered on Eventbrite during the week of the event.

What time is this?

9am-12pm and 1:30pm-3:30pm Central Standard Time (US) both on Saturday and Sunday April 10th and 11th. Full schedule with descriptions here.

Does this cost anything?

Nope. Free for all!! Voluntary donations will be sent to the GEO Cross Campus Mutual Aid Solidarity Fund and Cunningham Township Angel Fund.

Do I have to attend all of it? I’m busy/tired.

No. Though all the speakers and activities are SUPER dope, feel free to drop in at your flexibility. If you know you want to participate in the workshops, please indicate so on Eventbrite. All talks and their transcripts will be sent to registrants.

Will this event be accessible to me?

We will be providing closed captioning during the event via Otter ai. If you have any other needs, please let us know and we’ll do our best to make sure you have the fullest experience!