By: Sam Gelman  | 

24 Hours of Creativity and Fun at Invent:YU

On Saturday night, October 29th, the YU Hackers hosted Invent:YU, Yeshiva University’s 3rd 24-hour hackathon. The event, hosted in Heights Lounge and Nagel Atrium, was organized by over 30 volunteers and was attended by over 200 people. Free meals and snacks were also provided to all that attended.

For those that don’t know, a hackathon is basically an invention marathon. For 24 hours students shuffle in and out of the lounge, sharing and building websites, applications, robots, and more. The atmosphere is usually very relaxed and welcoming as you don't even have to have programming experience to participate and people studying anything from history to computer science are invited to attend. The YU hackathon also featured special mini events such as a nerf war and drone races. Josh Deutch, one of the participants of the event, said that “I’m no coder but still had an amazing time because of all the fun activities that went on. I was captain of one of the teams in the nerf wars and it was intense. Tables, chairs, boxes all over the place, bullets flying. It was chaos.”

Most hackathons span entire weekends, leaving Shabbat-observing Jews excluded from the enriching experience. However, with the help of Joshua Weisberg and Natan Bienstock from Student Life, the YU Hackers were able to create an event that honored the spirit of a hackathon while also being open to Shabbat-observing students.

“Hackathons are changing the world” said Aaron Landy, the head coordinator of the hackathon. “Every university needs a hackathon if it wants to enable its students to contribute to the future.” Yehisva University looks like it is contributing just fine, having created 14 applications in 24 hours at the Hackathon.

The YU Israel Club and Tamid Club were also heavily involved in the planning as the hackathon had a special Israel theme this year. Six Israeli companies, including Nefesh B’Nefesh and Masa, participated, allowing students to meet with representatives of these companies and talk to professionals from a wide range of fields. “The hackathon taught that Israel can affects all of our students and not just the students involved in our traditional events” said Tamar Shiller, one of the Israel Club presidents. “There are so many different ways to benefit Israel and showing our students that creating apps and websites can help our country, it shows that it is always possible to connect our future jobs to helping Israel in some way or another.”