HackCville’s Semester in Review (Fall 2014)

This was an incredible semester for HackCville. We brought in our first student staff and our first Hustle Class. We began to…

This was an incredible semester for HackCville. We brought in our first student staff and our first Hustle Class. We began to build an independent nationwide alumni network of U.Va. entrepreneurs. And we ran dozens upon dozens of talks, classes, and unique programs for hundreds of students across the University of Virginia, covering everything from bitcoin to marketing strategy to web app design.

As we look ahead to 2015, we remain strongly focused on our mission: to empower ruckus-making students to become resourceful, self-directed learners. We are committed to helping students of any year, major, or skill level to “hack” their projects, careers, or education. We start people, not ups.

We’re excited to share with you our impact and reach from last semester. But we can also assure you that we’re just getting started.

HackCville's Open House
HackCville’s Open House

Events and Programs

Last semester, HackCville hosted a total of 60 events in conjunction with 46 different partner organizations from across U.Va. and Charlottesville. (That’s 60 events in 120 days!) Our programming focused on connecting students with experiential learning opportunities and respected alumni in a variety of areas, including entrepreneurship, technology, art, design, and social impact. Our classes were taught by community members, U.Va. alumni, and by students.

We’re excited to continue this semester with more high-quality programming for our members. Whether you’re a student, alumnus, or local business, we would love for you to hold a program at HackCville. If you’re interested, contact our Programming Manager Alex Jones.


The HackCville Media team
The HackCville Media team

HackCville Media

HackCville Media, our in-house publication, also saw a very successful semester. The team produced nearly 30 editorial or video productions that showcased the incredible creative projects at HackCville and in the broader community. Every aspect of our productions is created by one of our students, from the filming to the editing to even our music.

New this semester were our alumni and student profiles. We interviewed members of our Hustle Class and Wahoowa alumni network to learn about their projects and passions. Some of our favorites include students Madhav Sekar and Jessica Zimmerman and alumni Andy Forch and Stephanie Olvey.

The students behind HackCville Media learn modern skills in media production as they produce editorial, photo, and video content for our website. And thanks to generous support from the Jefferson Trust, our team learns these skills while using state-of-the-art technology and media equipment.

We’re excited to continue creating amazing content, growing our audience, and providing media production education to our staff. If you’d like to get involved or support HackCville Media, contact Brian Mitchell.


Wahoowa NYC Happy Hour, Summer 2014
Wahoowa NYC Happy Hour, Summer 2014

Wahoowa Network

Wahoowa is an independent network of alumni entrepreneurs, managed in collaboration by HackCville and alumni chapter leaders in cities across the country. HackCville launched the network this past summer with alumni/student meetups in Richmond, Washington DC, San Francisco, and New York.

Since then, the network has grown to over 300 alumni entrepreneurs from across the country. We send semi-regular email updates to these alumni with upcoming meetups, alumni news, and student updates from HackCville Media. (You can see an example here.)

As we look ahead to 2015, we plan to grow our network to over 1,000 alumni and hold 14 events in cities across the country. We’re planning to launch chapters in Austin, Boston, Los Angeles, and Seattle, growing our reach to 8 cities. We’re also excited to develop a program to foster mentorship relationships between these alumni and current students. And in April, we are inviting the entire network back to Charlottesville for the Tom Tom Founders Festival.

If you’d like to get involved, email Alumni Relations Manager Amanda Halacy.


Madhav Sekar crafts a grilled cheese sandwich for his delicatessen, Balz-Deli.
Madhav Sekar crafts a grilled cheese sandwich for his delicatessen, Balz-Deli.

Member Projects

HackCville recruited its first Hustle Class, a group of 33 undergrads from an application pool over 70 students. These students spent the semester as preliminary members orienting themselves to the community and culture at HackCville. Hustle Class students had to attend certain events, meet with existing members, and a culminating project, our Haggle Challenge.

For the Haggle Challenge, students designed, marketed, sold, and distributed satirical cereal boxes (see them here) printed with UVA figures and celebrities. Some of our favorites included Poe Poe Puffs, Sabad-o’s, Joe’s O’s, and Kemp’n Crunch.

Our Hustle Class process empowered students to initiate their own passion projects. First year Madhav Sekar started delicatessen Balz-Deli and Norah McDonald started her own bakery, called Javelina’s. We also continued to provide workspace and resources for existing student projects, including Quisper and Greens to Grounds. We also connected many of these students with internship and job opportunities.

If you’d like to apply to the Hustle Class, the application is open until February 3. Or, you can send any questions to Membership Manager Adam Ghazzawi.


30 students, 5 universities.
30 students, 5 universities.

University Outreach

HackCville also works with student entrepreneurship groups from nearly a dozen regional universities. This past September we held the first annual Student Entrepreneurship Summit, where student leaders from 5 universities came to HackCville to share best practices and ideas for cross-university collaboration. Attendees also participated in the Charlottesville Startup Trip and attended the Fall Tom Tom Block Party.

The impact from the Summit has been incredible. Many of the universities who attended are now restructuring their organizations and planning new programs for their members, all based on what they learned at HackCville and from each other. In 2015, we plan to expand this event and bring in additional universities from up and down the coast. 

Thank you!

What HackCville does would simply not be possible without the support of many individuals, organizations, and businesses. We’d like to say thanks!

Thank you to our non-profit board of directors: Adam Healey, Brendan Richardson, Lyons Brown, and Spencer Ingram. You all provide the vision and support we need so that we can continue to impact more and more students.

Thank you to our partner organizations. There are 46 organizations (too many to list here!) that helped us put on an event, launch a program, or teach a class last semester. We couldn’t have done it without you.

The Galant Center for Entrepreneurship and WeWork have been two key sponsors and supporters of the Wahoowa network, providing food, drinks, and amazing spaces for our events. Thank you!

Thank you to our gracious and supportive parents and alumni. Your ongoing mentorship and support guides us as we build and our grow our community.

HackCville is a 501c3 non-profit that is generously supported by donors who want to support self-directed entrepreneurship education at UVA. Thank you for making what we do possible!

Finally, thank you to our members, and to any student that’s participated in one of our programs. You are our community and you make it thrive.


2015, here we come. Let’s make a ruckus.


Related Stories

More Like This →

About The Pioneer + HackCville

The Pioneer is the publication of HackCville. All of our producers are either current students or graduates of HackCville’s media education programs.

Our producers develop skills in modern media production through publishing stories about creative, civic, and entrepreneurial innovators in the University of Virginia and greater Charlottesville community. Learn more →

HackCville develops the skills, networks, and entrepreneurial ability of talented U.Va. students. We accelerate our students’ ideas, projects, and startups through our experiential programs and tight-knit community. More about us →

Founding Partners