Running other activities as a hackathon organization?

Hi y’all! My name is Chris and I run an organization called ACM Hack (a subgroup of my university’s Association for Computer Machinery chapter). We currently run PickHacks and Local Hack Day and organize trips to other hackathons.

I was wondering if y’all had any suggestions for other activities that we can run to engage our members?

Thanks :slight_smile:

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Hey Chris!

First of all, as a community builder, I love the way you’re thinking. Nothing better than keeping likeminded folks engaged,
learning and connecting with each other.

You could have your team host MLH Localhost workshops! There are so many to choose from and they attract all levels of ability from noobs to OGs :wink:

@jamie.liao @mary @henry might also have ideas here.


Hi Christopher!

If you are looking for tech workshops at your organization, Sally is right. Localhost workshops are a great way for people to learn about new APIs or services that they can use. Never had experience deploying a Node app to Azure? That’s fine! We provide all the documentation, environment setup, and starter code for you. We’re like Uber, for workshops. We’re like a great API, but for workshops. We handle making the materials, and you just worry about using them.

As for non-tech events, here are some ideas that I have tested and generally work:

  • Smash tournament
  • Slideshow karaoke
  • Ice cream social
  • Fibbage
  • A hacker hour/hangout hour

And here are some untested ideas that I am interested in knowing if they work (pls lmk what happens):

  • Play Overcooked
  • A mass taco bell run.
  • Watch The Room
  • Put on a play.
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Oh and you can try cooking or baking together!

From Swift’s AMA:


What kind of people usually teach the localhost workshops? The hackathon organizers? Student Volunteers? University faculty?

Oooh, an ice cream social sounds cool! What is Slideshow karaoke?

In student groups it is often a student member of the leadership team or someone that the leadership team is training. Organizing Localhost events is a great way to teach new team members the basic mechanics of organizing an event (coordinating with MLH, finding a venue, marketing the event, preparing to present, handling day-of logistics, etc).

Sometimes the club is also responsible for the Hackathon, but that’s not always the case. It’s more common for their to be overlap on the team when the community is new or small.

@jamie may have some other thoughts too.

Slideshow Karaoke is a game where volunteers from the audience come up on stage and have 3 minutes to make a presentation. The catch is that they’ve never seen the slides before and don’t know what the topic is in advance! The audience yells out topic recommendations and the MC finds a relevant slide deck on the internet. Some of my favorite topics are things like the history of the Universe, Disney movies, any animal, a summary of Anna Karenina, etc.

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A great way to engage with your members is doing a talk/q&a with someone from the industry. Some students don’t know what it’s like to work in the tech industry, and would want some sort of guidance of how they could find themselves there. It is quite engaging as well as very informative for them, and even could motivate them.

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