Event Setup
Day-of, make a list of items that will need to be set up.
These will likely include the things below.
  • Set up tables and chairs
  • Make sure WiFi is working (or set it up)
  • Check power at every table (may need to lay cable)
  • Check-in station
  • Sponsor and swag area
  • Hackathon space
  • Speaking area
  • Judging space
  • Hardware room or table (MLH)
  • Food area
  • AV and tech
  • Relaxation area (if providing)
  • Help desk/info center
  • "Meditation room"

Have organizers handle the following tasks during the corresponding times:

  • Serve breakfast
  • Welcome and brief sponsors
  • Welcome and check-in attendees
  • Check ID, collect liability waivers and minor forms
  • GIve out promotional materials
  • Give attendees wrist bands or name tags

Brief Volunteers

Make your volunteers responsible for specific tasks. They should be working on something relevant at any given time during their shifts.

Opening ceremony

  • Round up people to attend presentation
  • Welcome address
    • Announcements
    • Keynote speaker
    • MLH talks
Note about speakers: Your attendee’s time is valuable. Many sponsors are going to ask for speaking spots… optimize for interesting speakers rather than lucrative speakers. Invite-only API demos (developer evangelists) are another good option.

Simultaneously (meals every six hours including snacks)

  • Set up first meal
  • Find your team/workshop mixer

During Hacking

  • Collect garbage
  • Tech talk facilitator: rounding people up to listen and handling speakers (tech talks usually sponsors)
  • One volunteer should be in charge of each special area or activity at the hackathon: for example, the hardware room, photo booth, etc.
  • Checking in on hackers: feeding them snacks, making sure their power and WIFI are working, etc.

Hacking Deadline

  • Get teams to submit what they’ve been working on to either HackerLeague or Challenge Post. It’s important that every team member is registered on the platform and added to the hackathon project.
  • MLH Tip: Announce a deadline that is an hour before your real deadline
  • Have an organizer ask each team if they submitted their idea.
  • If you have science-fair style judging, have hackers go eat lunch in a separate room while you reconfigure the hacking area for demos