Jeff Hilnbrand, Mackenzie Burnett, Shariq Hashme, Kunal Sharma, Ibrahim Hashme
hackathon, community, technology, diy
36-hour collegiate hackathon at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Bitcamp is the primary collegiate hackathon at the University of Maryland, College Park.
I became invigorated by the creative and exploratory culture and collaborative spirit of hackathons after participating in a number of them along with the Terrapin Hackers student group. These qualities of the then-new hacker spirit became manifest at colleges peppering the east and west coasts as hundreds of projects that explored the space of possible electronics and software projects that could be achieved in 24-48 hours by curious nascent technologiests. This was the context from which a small number of fellw enthusiasts, including myself, started Bitcamp. We set out to create a new hackathon experience at the University of Maryland, College Park.
The premise of Bitcamp is to ''Take what you love, fuse it with technology, and build something the world has never seen.'' Bitcamp was about exploring one's genuine curiosities through creation.
Bitcamp adopted a "camp" theme. This was inspired by the idea of the camp as a place for growth through creation, exploration, and imagination. Sticking with the theme of camp and the precedent of hackathons, Bitcamp was made to take place over a weekend timespan. We set the length to 36 hours. Likewise, mentors supported hundreds of peers that came to Bitcamp from around the world, focusing on making the experience fun and productive. One of the iconic pieces of the camp theme became a handmade bonfire.
I am one of the original founders of Bitcamp. I helped originate and organize the first Bitcamp in the spring of 2014. Bitcamp was the first national collegiate hackathon hosted by the University of Maryland, College Park. The first Bitcamp was successful with about 750 college students participating and enough prominence to attract sponsors like Oculus and the attention of the Universtiy. Bitcamp is now one of the main collegiate hackathons, classified in Division I of the Major League Hacking hackathon series.
I named Bitcamp with the support of several of the original founders, notably Jeff Hilnbrand, who pointed this out to me in the spring of 2015. Jeff kindly shared a screenshot of the original Facebook conversation which gave rise to the name.