Geri Madanguit ’18 is a senior engineering and computer science major, is hosting the first-ever Syracuse University student-run, Major League Hacking-defined hackathon: CuseHacks!

CuseHacks is a hackathon as defined by Major League Hacking, and it’s taking place on April 21, 2018. It starts at 10:00 a.m. and ends April 22, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. It will be held in the Life Sciences Atrium.* Company sponsors will be there, along with free food and free swag. It’s free to register and beginner-friendly! Click here to apply.

*You should bring your own laptop, but you can use the computers in Life Sciences as well. 

Tell me about CuseHacks!

Me and a couple of computer science students from the School of Engineering and Computer Science decided to make Syracuse University’s first hackathon.

From my experience, I’ve attended a couple different hackathons from other universities. It’s always brought an improvement to the college, the community, the sponsors, and most of all the students. It helps bring in job and career opportunities and allows you to meet different people with lots of different skill sets.

I would always go to hackathons and be amazed at them. You get to invent something new in a span of 24-36 hours. Not to mention you get free food and free swag.

This made me wonder: why doesn’t Syracuse University have events like this? Other hackers would ask me “what’s the hackathon at Syracuse like?” I would have to break it to them that we don’t actually have one.

“You get to invent something new in a span of 24-36 hours. Not to mention you get free food and free swag.”

What’s your role in the hackathon?

My role is just creating it, really. I attended a lot of hackathons and talked to my friends and leaders on campus about it and they all agreed that it would be a great event. I brought students to a hackathon just to let them experience it at the University of Toronto. They got to see and experience it first hand and were blown away by it.

What do you do during those 24-36 hours?

It’s filled with workshops, learning different ways of coding, talking to sponsors and mentors, and a lot of the time ideating. Basically, you’re just trying to figure out what you’re going to do.

There are themes or general categories you can win within the competition. Before I go into a hackathon, I’ll look into the categories they’re going to have and then I’ll see something like “Best VR hack” and that’s how I decide what to base my project around. So I’ll spend my time at the hackathon figuring out what I’m going to do with Virtual Reality.

In the meantime, I like talking to the companies that are there as a sponsor. They send mentors to talk to you and they have lots of free swag to give away. And of course, there’s always food. So I’m mostly eating, hacking, and not sleeping.

Is CuseHacks for beginners? Can you go even if you don’t know how to code?

Yes! I always say beginners should always go to hackathons and experience it. Eventually, they’ll get the hang of what they can do. It’s not just open to programmers, it’s open to entrepreneurs, designers, and engineers (even the one’s who don’t know how to code).

For CuseHacks, we specifically want to target beginners, so mostly people that have never been to a hackathon. We want to be able to have workshops for people who don’t even know where to start or how to build, or anything about hacking for that matter!

“We want to be able to have workshops for people who don’t even know where to start or how to build, or anything about hacking for that matter!”

Would this be beneficial for iSchool students?

Absolutely! As I said before, we’re trying to get designers and entrepreneurs to participate who don’t have a lot of coding experience compared to iSchool students.

I would definitely encourage iSchool students to check it out, go to our website, apply, and most of all participate in it and see for yourself what a hackathon really is.

Is a hackathon something that you can put on your resume?

Of course! Any hackathon that I go to that helped me produce my best projects I put it on my resume. 10/10 times companies will always ask “tell me about this” or “that’s amazing that you would go to something like this!”

They love to see it on your resume because you’re spending your free time to go do a project that’s not required by the university.

A lot of tech companies have in-house hackathons, which help build ideas or products for their companies. Companies are interested to see that kind of culture when high school students or college students participate in them, because it helps integrate them into their company culture with their own personal hackathons.