The Opportunity Project (at) Harvard is the College's premier data sprint funded by the Harvard Data Science Initiative and hosted by the metaLAB (at) Harvard, as the first campus version of the The Opportunity Project (TOP) Census Data Sprint run by the United States Census Bureau’s Open Innovation Lab. TOP connects students with experts across Harvard, the tech industry, local non-profits, and the US government to help them integrate federal open data into real-world projects to solve social, economic, and environmental challenges. 

The problem areas outlined by the United States Census Bureau’s Open Innovation Lab focus on engaging hard-to-count communities, such as LGBTQ+, transient populations, and persons with disabilities; enabling businesses, community organizations, and local governments to use the data for key decision making; and developing data literacy skills. Progressing in parallel to the national TOP 2020 Census Data Sprint, students were supported by local mentors and user advocates as they developed digital products to make an impact in one or more of these areas. 

During the first iteration of TOP (at) Harvard (Fall 2021), two teams of students built products and tools using federal data to meet specific challenges of agencies and nonprofits nationwide. The teams researched the problem statements of their choice, designed a product (using the TOP toolkit) through workshops, improved their ideas through mentor office hours, received feedback via judging, and presented their solutions on Demo Day.

Fall 2021 Products:

Community LifeRAFT - visualizing community resilience and risk factors across the U.S.

reRoot - helping people make more informed migration decisions with U.S. Census data

Learn more about the products.


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