BernHack 2020 : The Story Behind It
BernHack wasn’t only the first ever MLH member hackathon in Nepal but also my first hackathon as as a Lead Organizer. Previously, I had participated in some hackathons and volunteered in one. The idea of hackathon has always fascinated me. If you ever attend one and see the final projects I assure you that you will be amazed to see all the software solutions or hardware solutions built there. Hackathon is derived from two words; hack and marathon. Hacking means hacking a problem in the real life or you could say hacking the real life with a computer. Marathon means running within a specific time period. Same applies to hackathon, you have to hack a problem within a specific time period. Enough of these details, lets get to the main point.
How it all started !!
Thanks to GitHub Student Developer Pack, whose website I was surfing and saw a post on throwing your first hackathon. I always wanted to host one so without second thought I clicked on it and filled out the form with the name BernHack. I didn’t have high expectations as there were no MLH member hackathon in APAC region at that time. I filled the form, we talked with the core organizing team about it and then forgot about it. But one day, I was on a event and I was casually checking my email, I saw an email from MLH to send the official documents for BernHack. I was shocked and excited at the same time. Till that time, I didn’t know that MLH has started giving membership to hackathons in APAC region. That single email changed the whole situation for me. After that day, we started BernHack officially and started preparing documents. We were getting the vibes of the hackathon already. We sent the document to MLH and started our preparations. Thanks to our amazing college administration, who were excited as much as we were to conduct the first hackathon in the college. We were given the words that the college would be supporting the hackathon in every way possible. We were assigned a room with a computer and printer as our office for the hackathon.
We started our plannings, created a messenger group and made a schedule. Days passed by, we were working for the event and then I got an email from MLH saying our documents have been accepted and we have a interview scheduled with one of the amazing person I ever met, Joe Nash. He is the consultant for MLH is APAC region and leads MLH hackathons in the region. We had our interview and after 2 weeks of the interview, I got the email that we were officially a MLH member hackathon. The first one in Nepal and 5th in Asia Pacific to be more specific. We had only around 1 and half months at that time. We started searching for sponsors, partners, judges, mentors. We were sending out proposals, visiting offices, signing MOUs and what not. I left home at 6 AM and returned at 8:00 PM. We had our classes in the morning and after the class, we would go to our office that college had assigned and divide our tasks and distribute in various places. Days passed by and we had a strong plan for the hackathon. We had most of the arrangements ready ; internet, venue, fooding, prizes, judges, mentors, guests. I didn’t include the registration part above, we opened the registration for our hackathon for 1 month on our website : bernhack.tech and got around 60+ registrations.
We were also having international guests, Joe Nash from UK and 3 other MLH coaches Sashrika Kaur, Harshil Agrawal and Yashovardhan Agrawal from India who later proved that they weren’t guests but organizers. The MLH team was amazing. This way, we planned the event, did arrangements and now comes the D-day.
Students from all across the country came to participate in the event. There were more than 60+ teams registered out of which 34 teams were selected for competing for the prizes. The teams stayed in Kathmandu BernHardt College for the hackathon from Friday morning to Saturday evening. After all the teams finalized their projects, judging was done by science/expo method where judges visited each table where the teams showed their demos. After the expo, 6 teams were selected as Top 6 finalists. The top 6 teams then presented the ideas in front of the crowd and the winners were selected by the judges.
Best Beginner- Neophyte
Best use of Azure – Ascol Guys
Winner – Ascol Guys
Runner up – Yarsa
2nd Runner Up – Team Phoenix
Best Prototype – Hack Hunters
Most Innovative – Team R@iR
Most Creative – Team MBM
Best Collaboration – Lumineers
Most Commits – Rashika Karki
AdMana Category Prize – Team EZ
Mentors having expertise in different domains were available all the time to guide the teams in developing their ideas. Thanks to Microsoft MVP Pradeep Kandel, MSPs Sambhav Bhurtel, Prajin Khadka, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Milan Thapa, Bibek Chaudhary, Ashmita Shrestha, Dilip Thakur, Damodar Lohani, Aayush GC Bhujel, Angeena Chawal, Aashan Ghimire, Miniyan Parajuli, Sagar Pathak, Binod Jung Bogati.
1)Muni Bahadur Sakya
2)Prof.Dr. Subarna Shakya
All the participants were very happy and satisfied with the event hoping for the second edition next year. After all the insights and feedbacks we can now say” BernHack may not be the biggest hackathon in Nepal but it was surely the best”. We are so proud that we were able to bring the first ever MLH member hackathon in Nepal.
Thanks to the wonderful organizing team and volunteers who were so enthusiastic to help. We couldn’t done it without the amazing team work.
Although, BernHack 2020 has been completed, the love for hackathon inside me is always there and forever will be. BernHack has taught me so many things from approaching companies, resolving instant problems, interacting with different kinds of people and leading a team. Once you start involving in communities, you will start to enjoy it so much that you will forget how it all started. Me, a guy who would spend my weekend at home watching movies now attends every other events happening around and I so much thankful to the community.