HackSMU: Fall Edition Hacker Guide

This guide is a list of everything you need to know to have the best possible virtual weekend with HackSMU!

Dear Hacker,

We’re super excited to have you at our HackSMU Fall Hackathon from November 6th-8th! In this document, we’ve included some basics to hackathons, logistics, event descriptions, mentor information, workshops, and prizes. Should you have any questions, feel free to email us at hacksmu.team@gmail.com or message us on Facebook.

Please note that this guide is still a work in progress. Now, let’s jump right into things!

Table of Contents

What is a Virtual Hackathon?

As the distributed teams model grows in popularity, bridging the virtual gap is more important than ever. Through hackathons, an event where developers and others come together to tackle problems over a short time period, distributed teams can be united under a singular purpose. The purpose is to meet new friends, learn new skills, and connect with potential employers. This holds true whether the hackathon is in person or online.

What to Have on Hand

If you’d like to participate in Pancake/Waffle making, one of our mini events, please ensure that you have these ingredients:


  • 1 cup of all-purpose
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking poweder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  • 1 cup of all-purpose
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) melted butter

How to Prepare

Read this guide completely. Make sure you go over the schedule and hop on the Discord. The Discord will be our main mode of communication, so make sure you’re checking it!

Join our Discord here. We’ll be using Discord for important announcements, live updates, mini event coordination, connecting with non profit orgs, and connecting you with our technical mentors. This is also a great space to chat with other hackers!

When you first join the server, check in using the #check-in channel. If you have any questions, you can reach out to event staff or mentors using The Help Desk category.

Finding a Team

We have provided many ways for Hackers to reach out to fellow Hackers in the Hacker’s HQ discord category. You can introduce yourself to fellow hackers using the #introduction channel, and showcase your interests through the #role-selection channel.

We will also be providing a channel (#teamfinding) specifically to help facilitate team creation or you can attend the team finding session right after the opening ceremony. In the channel, talk about your background, any languages or technical experience and that you are looking for a team. Remember that everyone is in the same boat so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!

Opening Ceremony

Opening ceremony will be streamed on Twitch at 8:00 PM CST on November 6th. We will give a quick welcome to hackers and give an overview of this weekend.

Closing Ceremony

Closing ceremony will be streamed on Twitch at 11:00 AM CST on November 8th. We will end with a few remarks from the SMU Event Staff and Faculty, and we will showcase the presentations of the winning teams.


1st place

  • $400

2nd place

  • $300

3rd place

  • $150

Best first time

  • $100

All prizes will be awarded as Amazon giftcards

Submitting Your Project

You will be submitting your projects online via Devpost. Hacking ends precisely at 8:00 AM CST on Sunday, and you will have one additional hour to submit your project to Devpost. Please be aware of the time because you will not be allowed to submit afterwards.

You will also be required to submit with your project a 5-10 minute recorded pitch. Remember, this is something you can show off to recruiters, family, and friends in the future!

Code of Conduct

By attending HackSMU, you agree to abide by the MLH Code of Conduct. If you’d like to review the Code of Conduct, MLH’s can be found here.

Event Descriptions

You can find a full events schedule using HackSMU Live. Events will also be announced ahead of time in the discord #annoucements channel. Some of our flagship events include:

Pancakes/Waffle Making - Join us for a chill morning cooking pancakes and waffles!

Bob Ross Painting - Relax, Bring out your digital painting software and prepare to unleash your creativity in this interactive painting event with the legendary Bob Ross.

Team Typeracer Tournament - Think you’re the best typer around? Bring your team along in a bracket-style typing tournament and show off your typing prowess.

Sunrise over Dallas Hall - Experience the sunrise over Dallas Hall with the HackSMU team.