GrizzHacks celebrates five years of hackathons

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Rani Karana

GrizzHacks will celebrate five years of Hackathons this school year.

Rachel Yim, Staff Reporter

Celebrating its fifth year at Oakland University, GrizzHacks will be returning on Friday, Sept. 18th virtually to provide students a variety of opportunities through different projects.

The hackathon is an opportunity for participants to collaborate to create hardware and software projects over a course of a weekend. Paired up with a team of sponsors and mentors, students are encouraged to achieve their goals.

Allison Broski is the lead director for GrizzHacks. According to Broski, she and her team especially had to contribute more efforts into this year’s GrizzHacks because it is held virtually.

“Our team works very hard to make sure GrizzHacks is a success year after year,” she said. “I think our biggest logistical challenges have been considering how to keep hackers engaged, as well as distributing prizes and swag, since leaving a virtual event is as simple as closing your laptop.”

Despite the challenges, Broski and her active 15 team members didn’t lose their hope for another successful year for GrizzHacks. They are hosting workshops, running events such as scavenger hunts and hacker hangouts and providing a collaborative space for students to meet new people and get to know their classmates.

Aside from the social aspects of the hackathon, students will also have the opportunity to meet with potential employers in an intimate setting. Broski said companies believe that the individuals who attend this event are passionate about what they do, so employers from these companies engage with the student community and find potential hires for their organizations through this event.

Started in California, hackathons quickly spread to universities and cities across the country. Out of a variety of inventions, the “like” button of Snapchat, Facebook and GroupMe is one of the most notable inventions.

“There is no other student organization that brings together so many students, professionals and alumni at one event,” Shriyash Jalukar, vice president of GrizzHacks 5, said.

The opening ceremony will be held from 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept 18th to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20th, while the hacking itself will go from 8:30 p.m. on Friday to 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. For 36 straight hours, the participants will compete against their peers and other guests in a development challenge.

According to Broski, the team and the participants will utilize the Slack messaging system and Google Hangout sessions throughout the event. A team of volunteers will also be helping the team address hacker questions and make sure everyone has a positive experience.

“GrizzHacks is first and foremost a learning opportunity that defies the traditional classroom experience,” Broski said. “You don’t have to know anything about software or hardware development to participate in GrizzHacks 5. So, whether you are a music major or a senior studying computer science, come give our event a shot. You won’t regret it.”

Students can register for the event at grizzhacks.com. For more questions or details, email [email protected].