What I've been up to: Tech Knights and Knight Hacks

I've been unfortunately quiet on my blog lately, and it's high time I rewind a bit and talk about what I've been up to for the past year.

It all started shortly after attending HackFSU 2015, when myself, Ivey, and a couple students got together and asked, "Why doesn't UCF have a hackathon?"

And over the next few months, we worked together to register an official student organization, talk with school faculty, make plans, build branding, find sponsors, etc. Knight Hacks was born.

During the course of planning, the team also decided that the organization we had registered with UCF should have some sort of club meetings, so we decided to put together workshops for the students to teach them some basic core skills we thought they could use at hackathons, like terminal use, Git, Android, web development, etc.

Marty McFly teaches web development at a Tech Knights meeting

These meetings ended up being popular enough (and confusingly named enough) that we rebranded out this portion of the club, and just like that, Tech Knights was born.

Eventually, after months of planning, a few sleepness nights and a bunch of sponsor emails, Knight Hacks, UCF's first large, multi-school hackathon, happened.

Me doing the KH opening

Some of the Knight Hackers

The Knight Hacks Event

In this photo, I'm probably trying to keep the server online during the event.

Me at Knight Hacks

I'm very grateful to have been able to work alongside the amazing people on the Knight Hacks team, and to have been able to be a part of this historic event at UCF.

The Knight Hacks Team

Of course, several things went suboptimally, and we started rather small. There's plenty, plenty of work to do for the future. Ultimately we had about 150 people attend and about 40 projects submitted. In the future, I'd love to see both of those numbers double. Unfortunately, I'm faced with the bittersweet situation of graduating before Knight Hacks 2017 will happen. We're in the process of building a new team and we're super excited for the future, so with that, I'm happy for the good times and I hope we've built a tradition to continue at UCF.

We did this because we believe in UCF -- we believe UCF can have a flourishing, vibrant, exciting tech community within. We've seen it happen at FSU and UF, and with these seeds planted, we've already started to see the movement happen. People are talking on Slack, playing games together, friends on Facebook, etc. And for myself, it's been a huge improvement on my outlook to have a sense of purpose and belonging at the school. Of course, that officially goes away at the end of the semester when I release my officer seat to the next eboard, but nothing can take away the incredible experience building and executing the club and hackathon has been, and I've met so many awesome people in the process to learn from.

As for now, back to homework, Tech Knights, and sleeping. If you want to check out some of the materials my classmates and I have built for Tech Knights, visit the website.