By Christopher Gillett
The Youngstown State University Computer Club hosted HackYSU in the DeBartolo Stadium Room in Stambaugh Stadium April 8-10. The event was sponsored by the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics college and Student Government Association.
At the first in-person HackYSU since the beginning of the pandemic, YSU and high school students worked on their computers to create an app, game or anything of the sort, as long as they used their computers.
Samuel Hofmann, a senior information technology major and president of the Computer Club, spoke about the students who participated in the event and his past participation in HackYSU, which started back in high school for him.
“I’ve done music programs, music production [and] stuff like that. I’ve done robotics in the past. I made a tank robot for one of the days because I was bored. We get a good mix of everything just because we have people in the organization that aren’t just IT majors. We get psychology students, biotech students. So you get a pretty good mix of different programs,” he said.
Ryan Lalchand, a senior computer science major, is the vice president of the Computer Club. He joined in spring 2020 just as the pandemic began. The club needed a fourth officer at the time to continue operating, and he joined. This year will mark Lalchand’s first in-person HackYSU and his last before graduation. He detailed his favorite part of HackYSU.
“It’s just seeing how satisfied a lot of the students are with the progress that they’ve made on their projects, what they’ve learned, being able to put that on their resume and — especially for the winners — to be able to have that confidence moving forward is a great thing, too,” he said.
Tyler Byler, a freshman computer science and electrical engineering major, is the gaming director of the Computer Club. He joined the club after the Frost Penguins eSports Club disbanded. During the pandemic, the former esports club could not survive. The Computer Club absorbed the remaining elements of the former esports club.
Byler has hosted Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart tournaments, and is leading a Rocket League team within the club. He hosted gaming tournaments at HackYSU for participants to play. He hopes to relaunch esports on campus in the fall.
“One of my favorite things that happened in high school for me was when I was on a Rocket League team and we went to play in person at this big high school event,” he said. “I got to sit in front of everybody — this whole crowd — and play, and we got people to have people cheer us on. It just felt great, and I would love more of that [at YSU] for me and for as many other people I can get that for.”
The winning project for HackYSU was a typing game developed by several YSU students and a high school student. A full tally of the winners can be seen below.
For students interested in joining the YSU Computer Club, go to ysucomputerclub.com. To learn more about future YSU esports, contact Byler at firstname.lastname@example.org