“Every week, I get to see all my friends at our club meetings.” School is back in session— or at least as much as it can be in these times. We’re hearing from the heads of ACM/IEEE chapters and all sorts of other hacker clubs wondering how they can make sure their members stay involved, engaged, and happy this fall.
Here at MLH, we’ve spent the summer experimenting with all sorts of ways to keep communities engaged and learning from other incredible organizers. Here are our top five tips to keep your club going:
1. Host a Meetup
Hosting a virtual meet-up is a great way to build relationships amongst your hackers! This could be anything from playing slideshow karaoke (one of our favorite mini-events) to a co-hacking session to mock interviews to a book club (we recommend The Pattern on The Stone or Tubes: A Journey to The Center of The Internet). This can easily be done on Zoom or Google Hangouts.
2. Organize a Workshop
Workshops are an easy way to bring your community together around the technologies that unite them. In fact, Sumaiya Tabassum of Queens College built her whole community around them. However, with digital workshops being a little different than their physical counterparts, we’ve found a number of best practices that will help yours go great.
To make your life easier, we’ve made more than a dozen beginner-friendly workshops through MLH Localhost. With MLH Localhost, you’ll get everything you need from sample code to slide decks to marketing assets. If you’re not a fan of Eventbrite, take a peek at MLH Organize HQ, a platform to help you run registration, distribute assets, and send pre-event emails.
If you want to learn more about best practices, join an MLH Localhost Peer Groups to talk to fellow organizers, ask questions, and get advice from the MLH team.
3. Run a Digital Hackathon
Looking to bring together your club for a weekend of coding and innovation? Running a digital hackathon this semester is a great way to do it! You can challenge hackers to create solutions to real-world problems, try out new hardware and software, and have fun. It’s the perfect time to build your network, and play mini-events.
If you want to extend an invite to hackers from outside your club and from around the world, consider applying for membership. The MLH League team will help guide you through the process and provide resources.
4. Participate in Local Hak Day as a Community
Learn with your friends at Local Hack Day, a series of events happening all around the world designed to spark a passion for technology in your local community. This is the perfect opportunity to participate with friends, learn new skills, and score some sweet hacker swag! Local Hack Day is a very low lift opportunity for clubs with little to no organization needed on your part.
Our next Local Hack Day will be Local Hack Day: Learn on October 10th and this week-long event will feature workshops and keynote speakers focused on teaching you new skills.
5. Mentor Hackers Near and Far
One of the best ways to engage with the digital community is by mentoring hackers like yourselves. An easy way to do this is by organizing a meetup for the Intro to CS students. Remember how intimidating it was when you started your hacker journey? As they begin their own, your support can go a long way in helping them.
If you are interested in helping the larger hacker community, consider mentoring a digital hackathon. If you’re interested, go ahead and fill out this Typeform.
We can’t wait to see what all of our amazing organizers and hackers will do this Hackathon Season and it’s only the beginning. If you have any questions, never hesitate to reach out to our teams at [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected].
Emily and the MLH team