ArborHacks Review (In Photos)

Max Albert
4 min readDec 29, 2015

There’s nothing quite like watching a student grasp a difficult concept.

Multiply that feeling by 146 and then you get my weekend on December 19th.

I’m still in shock. 6 years ago it would’ve been impossible to take a CS course in Ann Arbor. Now they have a full fledged learnathon. It’s insane.

I couldn’t say it any better than my partner in crime, Ben Freiband:

We want to give them skills they don’t necessarily have access to at the high school level that will make it immeasurably easier to further their own ideas.

Immediately after AborHacks was over, I posted a photo on Instagram with the description: Some of the mentors for our debut student org event: ArborHacks — the most unapologetic learnathon in the world.

And I took a bit of flak on social media for calling it “unapologetic.”

Allow me to defend myself.

From the get-go we had very high expectations for ourselves. As a result, we had plenty of critics who argued that our goals were completely unrealistic.

Well we did them, we have a good formula for doing it again, and we’re not sorry for your inability to keep up.

That’s what we are.


So without further adieu, these are some of the goals we accomplished.

1. Every Single Hacker Made A Static Webpage

Love the Santa hat!

Consistency was a big deal for us. We wanted every hacker leaving with a project they felt proud of.

2. Swag… and Lots of It

Answer: T-Shirts

I remember a time when learnathons didn’t have any swag. That was a dark dark time. Lets never go back.

3. A Mentor Ratio of 5:1

“You’re missing a semi-colon there…”

And they were all identified by the stylish purple glow-sticks. Seriously, I’d been craving that ratio ever since I started organizing. Finally checking it off my bucket list feels all too good.

4. The Illest Intro Of Any Learnathon I’ve Ever Seen

Makes me want to go to Cedar Point right now!

5. Plenty of Food and Drinks

Yumm Pizza

We know the magic ratio (according to Hackcon) was $6 per hacker… So let’s just bump that up to a healthy $10 and call it a day ;)

6. Top-Notch Sponsors

Hackers enjoying the food/venue/swag provided by sponsors

For years it seems that organizers have been afraid to ask for money if their event is too small/too targeted at beginner hackers. ArborHacks is living proof that it can be done to great reward!

7. MLive Rolled Through

Photo Taken By

And they wrote a lovely article about the event.

8. The Top Hacks Were Definitely Hackathon-Ready (As Advertised)

As I said before, every hacker left with a static webpage. But the vast majority did end up adding Javascript. A few teams even went way beyond our curriculum! I for one am truly impressed.

Overall I’m really happy about how the event turned out. You can see the rest of the photos on the Arborhacks website.

Oh and you haven’t seen the last of the ArborHacks team!

Hack on!