Updated: Jan 19
Paterson, NJ - The Computer and Technology Club is one of the more active student organizations coming into the 2022-2023 academic year, and with an upcoming club trip to Princeton for the annual HackPrinceton event, I took a moment to sit down with Yehia Elzoridy, the current President of the CTC to discuss their current projects, plans, and a bit of their history.
When asked about their history, Elzoridy says, “The CTC started last Fall. The founder of the club, Tyler [van Buren], made it with the vision that we get people to come and have a space on campus. It’s mainly aimed for the Computer Science students, but anyone can come and join. The idea… was [to] create a safe space for everyone to come and learn about technology. You don’t necessarily need to be a computer science or IT major to actively work with us. You can just come by [and ask] “Hey, how does AI work?” or “How does web design work?”
The CTCs primary way of sharing tech topics is through workshops: “One of our first workshops this semester was an introduction to web development. We saw a lot of people were interested in that, so that’s why we wanted to start with it. A week ago, we had a workshop for GitHub. After HackPrinceton, we are aiming to focus on cybersecurity.”
Outside of workshops, the CTC is working on two main projects: a street-fighter style video game created entirely by students, and a “vending machine” style website for charities.
Elzroidy also gave insight into how the CTC funds its operations. Currently, the CTC gets no budget from PCCC directly, and despite a lack of outside funding, has successfully run workshops and events. Funding is expected to be finalized by mid-November. He shared that while club run fundraisers are still in the works, any money raised would go back towards students in the form of scholarships for members.
The CTC is the first major club on campus to utilize Discord, a messaging platform, as their primary online space of operations. Discord is well known to those in technology and gaming spaces, and allows for automated moderation, member roles and nicknames, and organizational channels. This has given the CTC a much larger footprint than it would otherwise have, as while the meetings average an attendance of 19 members, the Discord has one hundred and forty two members, with many of them being active outside of meeting times. This has also allowed for quick information sharing, which has been instrumental in organizing large events like the upcoming HackPrinceton event.
Discord also allows for servers to have customized emojis, with the CTC Discord having a custom emoji of Elzoridy’s cat. Elzoridy says that “If I can leave the legacy of my cat in the Discord, that’ll be a really amazing thing.”
Many of the members of the CTC joined for the upcoming HackPrinceton event, a thirty-six hour Hackathon that will take place from November 11th through 13th. Sixty PCCC students are registered to attend, making one in five HackPrinceton attendees PCCC students. Elzoridy explains that a Hackathon is “a coding competition, but it’s not an intensive coding competition. People will go there to make connections, make friends, and practice either what they learned at the Hackathon or a couple days beforehand…. In a lot of Hackathons, if not all of them, a sponsor would have a place where people who are interested in internships or jobs will go there with their resumes or LinkedIn accounts and try to connect with them. And if there’s interest from both parties, internships can happen.”
He also communicated that “All of us are really proud of the event, and that we’re able to give the students a chance to [attend]. If one of us can get an internship, then it means the entire Computer and Technology club won something. Or if [one of our teams] wins the competition, that means the CTC and ultimately Passaic County Community College was able to outperform people from Princeton.”
The CTC meets on Tuesdays from 2:00 to 4:00 and Thursdays from 5:00 to 7:00 in room H311 in Hamilton Hall. These meetings are also broadcasted over Zoom at the same times. To join the Discord, visit https://discord.gg/9KMDtTzCfe