Workshops before hacking begins

Hello all! I wanted to try out this community resource with some questions we’ve been having with our event scheduling.

In all past VandyHacks events, we’ve waited to start workshops until after hacking begins – we like this because it means we actually have 39 hours of hacking :stuck_out_tongue:. We’re currently investigating moving hacking back to make it a truly 36 hour event and holding some intro workshops, team finding, mentor project discussion, and sponsor meet and greet.

Before, the response to these events was always positive but they would be strictly after hacking began, meaning we might be intimidating people who don’t have a team by the time hacking begins. I’m wondering if holding off hacking for a couple hours would help hackers feel more open to taking the time to visit workshops, taking more time to plan out projects (making higher-quality projects), meeting sponsors, and forming teams.

On the other side of the issue, if more experienced hackers are idle, they might be tempted to gain an unfair advantage by starting hacking right after the opening ceremony anyway.

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Hello friends from VandyHacks!! I love this initiative that you all are making to make your workshops the primary focus to folks before hacking officially starts.

I can’t think off the top of my head an event who’s done workshops before opening cermeony on the day-of, but @shruti.das and @fsmallick lead Technica and they’ve done workshops on the week-of and can tell you a bit more about their experiences with that!

I’m trying to do something very similar, so I’d love to hear their experiences as well

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@mattleon That is such a great idea! Tagging along to this post to see what other people think!

I suppose, instead of pushing everything back, allow students the option to check-in to the event earlier to attend the workshops, team finding, mentor project discussions, and sponsor meet and greets. And then have the general check-in be at the normal time (or a bit later).

Honestly I love the idea of doing workshops for your local hacker community to bring new hackers in and get them interested and trained up before the event begins. I’ve seen it both ways (day of the event is a lot more hectic due to logistics setup) but in the week leading up to the event is more casual but caters less to off-campus hackers.

Shameless plug, but this would be a great opportunity to leverage MLH Localhost workshops.