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A Semester of Events

by Shauna January 14th, 2015

(17 of them!)

Last fall, we ran seventeen events at campuses around the country, reaching hundreds of students and making abundant contributions and connections. Here’s a whirlwind tour of our semester:


University of Minnesota at Morris

Students and volunteers at Open Source Comes to Campus: Morris.

Photo by Noah Keitel.

On Saturday, September 13th, faculty, staff and other volunteers led by student organizers Thomas Harren, Chase Ottomoeller, Alex Widdel, and faculty Elena Machkasova ran their second Open Source Comes to Campus event. They followed up on an amazing first workshop last fall with another successful event! Volunteer mentors Jim Hall and Noah Keitel each wrote blog posts describing the event.

Noah writes:

Our group of students and mentors worked and learned together as we went. We were able to get the drone to takeoff, and land by mapping keys to functions in our controller, which in turn called the service which other students had worked on… We were just about to fix a few bugs to get the ARDrone to respond to forward, back, left and right when we ran out of time. But luckily, this is all open source code on github, so we can keep working together to tackle some of these bugs!

Jim describes his experience:

With help from Emily, Josh, and Alek, we migrated old web pages into the FreeDOS Wiki. The overall project to convert old content will take weeks or months, and this workshop provided a great kick-off for our documentation clean-up efforts… Daniel refactored the web code for the FreeDOS News page, which also feeds the news items on the FreeDOS website… Other groups provided improvements to a free Senet board game and to a drone control system.

I am proud to have been a mentor for this event. What a great way to help students and to serve the campus! I look forward to next year’s event!

We’re looking forward to it too, Jim!

City College of San Francisco

Students at CCSF event, September 2014

Photo by Alan Martinez

This September, the CCSF Coders Club held their third Open Source Comes to Campus event, led by rockstar organizer Katherine Moloney. Attendee and photographer Alan Martinez writes:

I learned a little more about GitHub at this event and have gained more confidence in collaborating, forking and cloning a repository, making changes locally and making a pull request. For those that are new to Git or GitHub this is a great workshop.

You can see the pictures that Alan took here!


DePaul University

Picture by Shamil Clay

Photo by Shamil Clay

Although this was DePaul University’s first Open Source Comes to Campus event, it was not our first collaboration with Chicago’s wonderful open source community. Several of this event’s volunteers, including lead organizer Sheila Miguez, helped with previous events at UIC and NEIU.

Enthusiastic attendees took to twitter to let us know they were enjoying the event:

Claremont Graduate University

April Moreno and the CGU GIS club put together a great event with an Open GIS theme. They were helped by longtime OpenHatch volunteer Carol Willing, who led the day’s tutorials, PyLadies Los Angeles organizer Esther Nam, who helped teach tutorial breakouts, and Camille Teicheira, who helped students contribute to OpenStreetMap remotely from San Francisco! April writes:

“Attendees were particularly impressed with the local tech community and with the community participation. Inviting external participants turned out to be a great idea.”

Bucknell University

Picture by Li Li

Picture by Li Li

Student organizers Melissa Rios, Li Li, Tung Phan, Colin Heinzmann, Son Pham, and Aleks Antonov are working hard to build an interdisciplinary learning community at Bucknell University. Their hard work as they planned this event made their passion for open source software and foundational technology clear. If you’re an innovator, entrepreneur, or open source aficionado near Lewisburg, PA, get in touch and we can continue to grow a community together.

University of Victoria

Picture by Shamil Clay

At the University of Victoria in October we had two firsts: our first ever non-US event, and our first event focused on a specific project: Mozilla Webmaker. The event was hosted by University of Victoria’s Women in Engineering and Computer Science and Computer Science Course Union, sponsored by Mozilla, and led by Mozilla community builder Emma Irwin.

Emma wrote about her experience:

I was surprised to learn that FOSS contribution is really just ‘skimmed’ over in computer science classes, and so I’m hopeful that events like this can eventually lead to a re-visit of curriculum in higher ed. To that end, I have some personal goals around the Web Literacy Map and running events that focus on contributing to Mozilla. Here are a few of the literacies we covered: Community Participation Collaboration Open Practices Coding/Scripting Infrastructure

Remote volunteer Errietta Kostala also posted:

Technology made giving the talk remotely remarkably easy, and there weren’t many surprises! I started by helping out over Skype: Emma had hooked her screen up in a projector and I could talk and share my screen with Skype’s screen sharing feature. I said a few short words about IRC and then jumped straight into demonstrating how to use a client and get on freenode’s #openhatch and moznet’s #introduction and #webmaker. Later on, students were encouraged to ask any Webmaker questions in the #webmaker channel were me and other contributors could help them out. I answered some of their questions and worked with them and had lots of fun. Overall, it was an awesome day/night both for me and the students, and I certainly hope to see them in #webmaker again contributing and having more questions!


Indiana University at Bloomington

Picture by Jessie Pusateri

Photo by Ruth Fraser

Last fall, when we travelled to Bloomington to run our first Open Source Comes to Campus event there, Jessie Pusateri was one of our most enthusiastic students. One year later, she stepped into the shoes of last year’s host Lindsay Kuper and pulled together an amazing event! The growing open source communtiy at IUB plans to continue running Open Source Comes to Campus workshops.

You can see photos from the event here.

Swarthmore College


Swarthmore College’s Women in Computer Science, led by Rachel Stein, Shawn Pan, Jocelyn Adams and Meiri Anto, put together a great first event this fall, with mentors and students coming from around the Philadelphia area. One student enthused:

In our contributions workshop, we got a chance to talk to a data analyst about his work which was really cool!”

You can see photos from the event here.

Columbia University


The Application Development Initiative, led by Nate Brennand, ran their second Open Source Comes to Campus event in November, following up on a successful event last fall. One student tweeted:

Cornell University


Women in Computing at Cornell, led by Jisha Kambo and Susan Chiang, ran their first Open Source Comes to Campus event, a loosely structured three hour event with a mix of tutorials and hacking on projects. One student wrote that he values “the freedom to be creative that comes with open source and learning about how to collaborate with a large community”, while others wrote that they enjoyed “Getting feedback from people moderating projects”, “realizing that Git could be used outside of CS” and “submitting a patch to ruby”. The main critique? Not enough time to work on projects and get to know the amazing mentors. We look forward to fixing that with another, longer event!

Pictures from the event can be viewed here.

Hartnell College

Hartnell College ran two events this year, thanks to the expertise and enthusiasm of their Computer Science Education Coordinator, Katie Cunningham. This time, returning students were able to jump right in to contributing, while newcomers went through our series of presentations and hands on activities. More than any individual activity, though, the students really appreciated talking to the volunteer mentors. One student wrote:

My favorite thing about the event was being able to speak to the mentors and gain insight from them. I enjoyed being able to speak to them and hearing their experiences.”

A few weeks later, Katie arranged a short, casual follow-up event, where mentors helped students follow up with the contributions they’d been work on remotely via IRC. This was a definite success, and we’ll be encouraging other schools to follow Hartnell’s example.

You can see pictures from the event here.

University of Washington

Thanks to organizers Ben Marwick, Mako Hill, Ana Malgon, and Allan Ecker, mentors Darius Jazayeri, Jacob Vanderplas, Thomas Levine, Frances Hocutt, Venkatesh Srinivas, Kai Yang, Bryan Newbold, Jonathan Griffin, and to the generous sponsorship of the eScience Institute, the University of Washington boasted a well-attended first Open Source Comes to Campus event this fall.

University of California at Berkeley

Berkeley also ran their first Open Source Comes to Campus event this fall. Organized by James Maa and Alex Yang of Hackers at Berkeley and sponsored by Red Hat, the event drew mentors from all around Berkeley’s vibrant open source community. Featured projects included iPython, Peer Library, Oppia, and BOINC, the software and community behind SETI@Home. You can see photos from the event here.

Baruch College

I went to Baruch College in November to lead a short event similar to last spring’s Stony Brook event. This informal event, pulled together by Kannan Mohan, was smaller but still enthusiastically received, and we’re planning to do another event in the spring.

SUNY Stony Brook

Speaking of Stony Brook, student organizer Hanne Paine ran a follow up event with them this fall. We had difficulty finding enough mentors for the event, and ended up doing a shortened version that focused on a remote career panel and making changes over IRC. We’ll try again in the spring, hopefully at a better time for New York area open source enthusiasts.

Per Scholas

Photo by Jerome Dazzell

I also visited Per Scholas, at the invitation of organizers Sarah Conte and Jerome Dazzell. Jerome writes:

An amazing opportunity for our software testing class, where students gained a deeper understanding of open source software, projects, products and tools that foster open source collaboration, prototyping and community development.

Students with a programming and non-programming equally benefited from the workshop. Much of the internet is built on many open source technologies and the OpenHatch workshop did a fantastic job of tying it altogether.

Per Scholas’ cohort structure encourages a well-bonded and welcoming community, which in turn fostered a wide-ranging discussion on community norms, learning styles, motivations for contributing to open source, and more. Add to that a whirlwind tour of IRC, issue trackers, and submitting pull requests on github, and it’s no surprise we ran over our short event time slot. We’ll be back at Per Scholas this spring.

Princeton University

 Photo by Katherine Ye

Photo by Katherine Ye

Open Source at Princeton’s Katherine Ye, Lisha Ruan, Valerie Morin, Catherine Wu, Diana Liao and Annie Chu followed up on their event last fall with another successful event. With the local Drupal meetup and Two Sigma providing several mentors, there were plenty of projects to work on and a growing open source community at the school for students to become a part of. More than two thirds of students said they planned to continue contributing on the exit survey. One student wrote: “The people were very patient and helpful to me when I would get stuck and they did a great job helping through the processes” while another talked about “the fact that beginners were welcome with a very down to earth approach to GitHub”.

Drupal contributer and mentor at the event, Peter Wolanin, reports that three patches from students were eventually accepted into Drupal core: one, two, and three!

Looking Forward

We can’t wait to return to the schools above. We’ve learned so many lessons from our events this fall, and gotten to participate in so many wonderful open source communities, both fledgling and robust. But we’re also looking forward to going to new schools, too!

Interested in hosting an Open Source Comes to Campus event? Email us at, or suggest an event on our new forums.

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