Voluntir (Irish Hacks 2019)

Voluntir (Irish Hacks 2019)

2019, Nov 12    

I recently participated in Irish Hacks 2019, Notre Dame’s annual hackathon presented by the ACM Computer Club. A few friends1 and I formed a group with the goal of making something practical and learning at least one new thing along the way each. The theme of this year’s hackathon was “Social Good”. We decided to create Voluntir, an application for matching volunteers with opportunities, charities with volunteers, and members of the community with good samaritans.

While our group did not place, we still feel we made an excellent application, and we definitely learned a lot along the way! The other projects at the hackathon were awesome, with projects such as a Chrome extension for news sites that provided links to alternative viewpoints/sources, a tool that used a Google machine learning API to tell if an item is recyclable or not based on its code, and a mobile app for disaster relief first responders.

My Contributions

I focused most of my efforts in working on the backend for this project - other members of the group are much more experienced frontend developers than I am, so the pretty screenshots at the end of this post are thanks to them :) . I worked on writing the Flask server running our application and the SQLite database hosted locally to store Account, Organization, and Post objects. I also assisted with general debugging and integration issues between the frontend and backend - to my surprise, I wrote a few JavaScript functions for creating Posts, and actually enjoyed it! A few things about the project that I consider to be pretty neat from a technical standpoint are the token system written from scratch for persistent login sessions, as well as for viewing ‘sensitive’ account info (this was almost all Noah and Sam, but I learned a lot from it!) and the database setup itself, which really tested my SQL skills.

Takeaways

As with hackathons in the past, my biggest takeaway at Irish Hacks 2019 was experience. Experience in this context has a double meaning - I gained experience in programming but also had a fun experience working on a project with friends for a weekend. While I won’t be in South Bend this spring for the Hesburgh Hackathon, I will be in the Palo Alto area for the Notre Dame Silicon Valley Semester. I have applied for Stanford’s TreeHacks - fingers crossed I get accepted!

EDIT 1/5/2019: Good news - I was accepted to Stanford’s Treechacks! Bad news… It’s the same weekend as Junior Parents Weekend at Notre Dame, which I am most likely going to be going back to South Bend for… :(

1Shoutout to Noah Yoshida, Sam Battalio, Michael Eisemann, and Danica Crowley !


Screenshots

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Users can create accounts on our signup page



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Returning users are greeted after login



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Users can create posts



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The task dashboard shows a user some available opportunities



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More information about a task. Also where a user can select to accept a task, thus associating it with their profile (it shows up under their post dashboard)



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