RhodesHacks 0 Produces Innovative Ideas

a diverse group of students standing in a classroom
Participants of RhodesHacks 0

On January 22, teams of students met in the basement of Barret Library to compete in Rhodes’ first hackathon, appropriately called RhodesHacks 0. The brainchild of Entrepreneurship Club president Sam Reid ’16, the innovation competition challenged students to compete in three different categories: tech, design, and service.

Teams worked through the night to develop unique programs and ideas. While most hackathons focus on tech-related creations, RhodesHacks allowed students to step outside of the norm to include projects in design and service, adding, says Reid, “a liberal arts flair” to the competition. For example, a group of freshmen developed a service program to help animals in shelters find homes at colleges and high schools, benefiting both animals and students.

After a long night fueled by caffeine and free food, the team’s projects were judged by the group’s advisory board, comprised of alumni along with Bud Richey, associate vice president for external programs at Rhodes. Prizes were awarded in the three categories, in addition to an overall best project. Best in Tech went to the team of Jake Owens ‘17, Alex Abdo ‘16, Dan Lanza ‘17, and Semaye Mengistu ‘18, who created a reflective prism that displays 3D objects from websites into physical space. It uses a Unity program to display images taken from online using Python’s Selenium package and WebDriver. Best in Design went to Preston Tunnell Wilson ‘16 and Donny Ramier ‘17, who created an android app called Cleft that lets users mix and match tracks on their phones. Best in Service went to Seabelo John ‘19 and Nick Parinella ‘18 for BetterMe, an iOS life management and productivity app that helps users manage their schedules and activities in a simple and effective way.

Best in Show was awarded to Thomas Threlkeld ‘16, Will Cobb ‘18, and Luke Dulske ‘18 for an iOS app that allows musicians to find other local musicians to practice with. Cleverly titled One Night Band, the app further allows managers to hire local bands to perform at their venues and lets everyone see a band or person’s statistics and music.

While it was Rhodes’ first time hosting a hackathon, it turned out to be an exciting success. Reid hopes to make RhodesHacks the premier hackathon for colleges in the South. “Next year, we hope to have students from other schools also attending RhodesHacks. In two years, we hope the event is nationally known and students from all over apply to attend.”

By Swaneet Mand ‘18