Introducing the Open Source College Hackathon

2 min readOct 19, 2016


As hackathon organizers and attendees, we at HackIllinois know the value of Free and Open Source software and hardware. Access to open toolkits, frameworks, and libraries enables people to bring their ideas into reality around the globe. We believe that it is important that those who use these tools give back to the community, but also realize that it is often intimidating to get started.

HackIllinois last year

Last year, we ran a small pilot program with members of the open source community from projects like Apache HTTPd and Gulp.js. They mentored attendees through their first steps into the open source community. Not only did hackers contribute to Open Source projects during the hackathon, but they also continued to work together months later.

Now what?

This February, HackIllinois is focusing entirely on introducing developers to the Free and Open Source Community. Attendees will be able to chose between two tracks: Contribute or Create. In the Contribute track, attendees will be mentored while working on popular Open Source projects, providing a welcoming environment to make their first additions to the community. In the Create track, attendees will venture into the process of creating a brand new Open Source project and community, whether it is a fork, simple script, or new web framework. In making this shift, we’ve rebuilt our event format from the ground up to focus on collaboration and sustainability rather than competition. And as always, attendance is free, free as in gratis.

How you can get involved

HackIllinois is actively seeking mentors dedicated to growing the next generation of the Open Source community! If you (or your organization) are interested in supporting, mentoring, or attending HackIllinois on February 24–26th, 2017, we would love to talk to you! Send us an email at