The spring 2017 RevolutionUC was a great success! On the 8th and 9th of April 276 hackers and over a dozen mentors came together to build some really cool projects. As the official director, this time I worked to build upon the success of the fall 2016 RevolutionUC and to build attendance numbers. You can see the submitted projects here, some solve novel problems in innovative ways while others are just a lot of fun. Hackers attended from as far away as Wisconsin, Illiniois, and Virginia! We partnered with MLH again, which made for a great experience. Watch the recap video here!
The fall 2016 RevolutionUC was a success, and so as director all I really had to do was keep that success going. I had the privilege of working with a fantastic team of very motivated and talented individuals, who really made the event the success it was. That said, directing the event wore on me. It was a lot of stress, and I definitely lost sleep and added some gray to my hair. As director my main role was managing our people power, connecting communications between teams, and making final decisions. I ran our planning meetings and watched slack like a hawk for somewhere around 3 months. That's not to say it wasn't worth it. I really enjoy improving the UC computing community in such a tangible way.
Building upon the success of the fall RevolutionUC, we worked this cycle to improve the polish of our event, and improve how we broadcast our message of "Build. Learn. Grow." Our team of organizers more than doubled in size, which allowed for a lot more attention to detail. We reduced waste by entirely avoiding plastic water bottles by providing reusable water bottles for all participants. According to the counter on the water bottle filling station, we saved over 1000 plastic water bottles during the course of the event. We worked to improve attendance attrition, which I'll be writing about in the coming weeks. We also switched our judging system from a presentation style to an expo style, which went poorly. Its unfortunate to leave such a black mark on the event, especially so close to the end, but our prepared judging plan didn't work out for a number of reasons. It negatively affected a number of teams who submitted to be judged, and pushed our closing ceremony back about an hour. I'm very happy with how the team handled it, and I think we ended up making it right. Without a doubt, judging will be the topic of many discussions as the next RevolutionUC ramps up. Even with the slight disappointment that was the judging portion of the event, I'm immensely proud of the effort and hours that the team put into building up such a successful event.
Where We Go From Here
There won't be two RevolutionUCs next year. It's just too much work. It puts too much stress on the organizers, myself, and our relations with sponsors and the university. We're going to take advantage of our event being in the spring to spend more time planning and more time working out details that improve the experience. We haven't held goal setting meetings yet, but I want to see the event continue to grow towards 300 people, and I want it to be more inclusive to new hackers. After all, we're all about building, learning, and growing.