What ways have you tried to get more non-CS majors to attend hackathons and other tech events that you host?

Hey, I’m Alex and I’m the Digital Marketing and Localhost Program Coordinator here at MLH.

I found this article interesting and I can definitely relate to it in my own experiences. But I’d love to hear from people in the community about how they welcomed and marketed their events to non-CS majors in the past?


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I think its always a struggle to get students who are not coders to buy into the idea of a hackathon, especially if they feel they don’t fit in.

An effective way to tackle this is through universal branding. The way a concept looks and sounds through advertising is going to determine whether a student registers and attends an event. Avoiding the shell themed branding or (hacker theme) will not intimidate other majors.

Appealing to everyone’s needs can make a huge difference, and it doesn’t hurt to survey their desires beforehand or even recruit other majors to organize.

Finally, take more time to vision the mission statement and prepare tested dialogue for the demographic. This includes professors who will more likely listen if you send them emails directly. Asking a professor to announce your hackathon can easily add a dozen hackers to register.

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Also, thanks for sharing the article @alex.beciana1.

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also just shared this article with our community, thank you!

When we polled our attendees last year at PickHacks, we found that most people had heard about it in-person (through a class or through a friend), and flyers / e-mails weren’t a driving factor. Simple event flyers / e-mails with basic information get the job done, but they’re easily forgettable, especially when there’s competition with so many other campus organizations and events.

I think we can all agree that there’s a technical stigma behind hackathons, so in our outreach e-mails and flyers, we try to stray away from that and cater specifically the demographic (i.e. focusing on hardware when talking to EEs, focusing on the sales / speaking / management aspect to business majors), which allows our event to resonate more with those audiences.

In addition, our organizing board is extremely diverse, with a variety of majors and involvements (greek life, athletics, diversity organizations, you name it). As a result, we have “ins” to different communities around campus; for instance, we got some feedback that the lack of women at our event was discouraging, so we have new members involved in sororities, organizations like WiCS/Girls Who Code, and more. Regarding this topic specifically, I’m not a CS major (nor is our entire marketing team), so we use our personal stories as leverage to convince other non-CS students to attend.