Introducing the Rutgers Hackathon Club

April 17, 2012
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TLDR; With the second iteration of HackRU coming up this weekend, I figured that now would be as good a time as any to talk about hacking culture at my alma mater.

Where winners are forged

There are a lot of things that Rutgers University is known for. Hosting and winning the first college football match, our recently discontinued school holiday, sandwiches with literally everything on them. But one of the things we don’t get enough recognition for is our strong hacking culture. Rutgers students have been building awesome stuff for a long time and we’ve made bettering the hackathon community a priority. In preparation for the second annual HackRU (which is coming up this weekend and you should register now if you haven’t already), here’s a brief overview of some of our hacking accomplishments at Rutgers.

Some Rutgers hackers

A growing force

I founded the Rutgers Hackathon Club back in 2010 after I’d attended my first few events. At that point, there was a pretty strong representation in the community from the local New York universities, but I really wanted to see Rutgers emerge as one of the top contributors. We’ve since grown from 3 members to 45 and attended at least as many events together:

Some of the hackathons we've attended
  • HackNY (x5)
  • PennApps (x3)
  • HackRU
  • Visualization Marathon
  • New England College Hackathon
  • Geeklist
  • Node Knockout
  • Techcrunch Disrupt
  • Google Games
  • Code Sprint (x2)
  • New York Times (x2)
  • Django Dash
  • Clean Web Hackathon
  • Bit.ly (x2)
  • Hacker Cup
  • Lean Startup Machine
  • Hacker Olympics
  • Hack Princeton
  • DevFest
  • Photo Hack Day
  • Art Hack Day
  • Foursquare (x2)
  • Startup Weekend (x4)

That’s a pretty good sized list, and even if we only produced one entry per event, that would mean there are at least 40 projects we’ve hacked into existence over a span of two years. Realistically, the Rutgers hackers usually average about 3-4 projects per event, which would put that number somewhere in the hundreds.

The Sampler Platter

Of course not every project was a winner, but thanks to a combination of the Hacker League listings, some old tweets, and a few quick Google searches, I’ve managed to compile a list of some of the award winning hacks that Rutgers students have produced over the years. It’s a shame that it’s not more complete, but regardless I think you’ll find what’s here entertaining, impressive, and definitely worth a read.

HackNY

PennApps

HackRU

Photo Hack Day

Hack Princeton

- Swift

P.S. My name is Swift. I'm a former developer evangelist at SendGrid and one of the founders of Hacker League. I also tweet as @SwiftAlphaOne. Follow me there for more of my thoughts and maybe a laugh or two.

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