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Students, faculty and volunteers gather around a computer during UGAHacks' 2019 Hackathon. (Courtesy/UGAHacks)

For 36 hours, from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, approximately 500 coding aficionados will flood the rooms of the Zell B. Miller Learning Center, transforming the venue from a lecture hall to a coder’s paradise. With the itinerary ranging from a Smash tournament and Capture the Flag to workshops and networking opportunities, UGAHacks is planning on one-upping previous hackathons, beginning with their new venue.

The theme this year is “otherworldly ideas.” Unlike the name suggests, there is more to a hackathon than hacking alone. As UGAHacks 5 Director TJ Hasan puts it, the hackathon is about bringing people together with a similar interest: to create. Upon arrival, participants will team up in groups of four and begin their projects after the opening ceremony. Over the course of 36 hours, teams will submit their final product for judging.

From graphic design majors to business majors, Hasan emphasized that the event is for everyone. Logistics Director Glen George said the “less stressful, less intimidating” culture around the UGAHacks Hackathon sets it apart from other hackathons.

“It’s more about you doing what you want, and more about you having fun,” George said.

With the help of sponsors, such as Macy’s and PwC, the cost of attendance is free. Participants receive free meals and other perks with their admission. This year is also the first year UGAHacks is registered as a nonprofit, Hasan said.

Planning for UGAHacks 5 began at the conclusion of last year’s hackathon, gathering sponsors and organizing other logistics. For Hasan, the most rewarding part of the weekend will be seeing the yearlong planning fall into place.

“We’ve been planning this for a little less than a year now, and this weekend is just the culmination of all of it,” Hasan said. “I’m definitely taking the week off afterward.”

Clarification: The Red & Black stated UGAHacks was no longer registered as a student organization. UGAHacks is an official nonprofit student organization with full autonomy over its finances.

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