CodeDay Student Helpdesk
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Safety & Security
At the Event
Rules & Legal
Can parents attend CodeDay?
For security reasons, parents are generally not allowed at CodeDay, except for the following two times:
- Kickoff (Saturday, 11am-12:30pm)
- Presentations and Awards (Sunday, 10am-12pm)
Parents may attend if they are accepted as a volunteer and pass a background check and training, or are a chaperone for a school group.
Should we bring anything to CodeDay?
Generally, you need to bring a computer with you to CodeDay, unless you specifically requested a loaner computer or a Chromebook as part of your registration.
For Students Staying Overnight
We recommend you bring:
- A toothbrush and toothpaste.
- A sleeping bag.
- A pillow.
- A camping pad, if you have one.
For Students With Desktop Computers
While desktop computers are welcome at CodeDay, we do not have any equipment available for students to use with their desktop computers. You will need to bring everything, including:
- A keyboard, mouse, and monitor.
- Headphones. (Speakers are not allowed.)
- A wifi adapter. Most CodeDay venues do not allow participants to connect to wired ethernet.
- All necessary cables.
Can I volunteer for CodeDay?
Absolutely! We're almost always looking for help with the following:
- General Day-Of Volunteers
You can learn more on our volunteer page.
Can you work on existing projects at CodeDay?
Yes, but only if you're ok with not competing for "Best in Show" and "Best in Class" awards. (You'll still be eligible for "Special Prize" awards.)
What kind of things can be made at CodeDay?
You can make anything at CodeDay! Anything at all! The only limit is yourself!
Well, almost. You can't create anything that violates our Code of Conduct. This is usually a little less strict than "school appropriate," but in general you can't create a project which:
- uses offensive language referring to people's gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, or disabilities.
- uses sexualized language or imagery.
- harasses someone.
- is unsafe or illegal.
What do most people make?
Common projects vary from city to city, but in general, most CodeDay attendees create games, a sizable minority create mobile apps, and a small number create websites or electronics projects.
You can technically even create non-coding projects at CodeDay! We've seen people present paintings and record albums before.
(Not sure what you want to make? You'll also have the opportunity to join an existing team!)
Can students leave CodeDay and then come back?
Yes, however students who are minors will need to have a parent present to pick them up, or bring a signed note allowing them to leave early on their own.
Students may not be able to return at all times of day. Venues are typically locked down overnight, and depending on building security we may not be able to let you back in until the morning.
Can I come with a pre-formed team? Do I need to?
You don't need to come with a team to CodeDay. In fact, most people don't come with a team!
At the beginning of the event, everyone has the chance to pitch ideas for apps or games they want to make. (See "What can I make at CodeDay?") You can find an idea to work on then.
Teams can be made up of anyone you'd like, they don't need to attend your same school, be in your same grade, etc. Even volunteers can be on your team, if you can convince them!
What if I want to come with a pre-formed team?
That's totally ok, too!
Remember that, if you've done any work in advance, you need to disclose that to the judges. Doing work in advance might disqualify you for the "Best in Show" and "Best in Class" prizes.
What if I decide not to work with a team at all?
Also totally ok; many students work by themselves. We do find that students have more fun when participating as a team, however.
Judges will do their best to take the size and experience of each team into account when deciding on prizes.
Is CodeDay a "hackathon"?
Although it follows the usual format, CodeDay isn't a traditional hackathon, and many people who attend with that expectation are disappointed:
- CodeDay has few prizes and little swag
- you won't find meet companies directly recruiting for internships
- judging is based on difficulty for the team, not objective difficulty
- no business plans or pitch decks!
- lots of attendees are newer to coding
If that sounds like fun to you, we'd love to have you!
How are projects judged?
Judges are asked to evaluate projects on the basis of, in order of importance:
- Difficulty: given what you knew going in, how hard did you have to work to create your project?
- Creativity: how original and fun is your project?
- Polish: this is the "anything else" category, and includes things like having great UI, a tutorial level, etc.
Judges do not consider:
- How technically difficult the project is in absolute terms.
- Business plans, marketing collateral, or a pitch deck (except as part of "polish").
When does judging happen?
Judges walk around at 9am, before presentations. At least one judge will try each project, and talk to the team. Deliberation happens during presentations, so please don't create a presentation: it will only bore your friends and family.
Can students arrive late to CodeDay? Can they leave early?
No problem! We'll do our best to catch you up when you arrive.
Participants can generally leave early, however minors may only leave early:
- if they're leaving with a school group, or
- if they're being picked up by a parent or legal guardian, or
- if they have a signed note from a parent or legal guardian letting us know it's ok to leave, or
- if we can verify with their parent or legal guardian over the phone.
(This doesn't apply to leaving normally at the end of the event.)
Where can students sleep?
Most students simply sleep under or around their desk, however you're welcome to sleep anywhere in the venue which can been easily supervised by our staff.
In some venues, we may have one or more designated sleeping rooms. The availability of these rooms depends on both the venue, and final attendance estimates, so we cannot confirm whether these will be available until the week of the event.
We are not able to provide blankets or pillows: please be sure to bring your own! You may also want to bring a blindfold and ear plugs.
When does CodeDay start?
Doors will be open at 11am; and CodeDay kicks off at noon. We recommend arriving by 11:30 to have a chance to meet other students, and to participate in pre-event activities.
Parents and other family are welcome to stay until the end of the kickoff, around 12:30.
Do new students really have a chance of winning an award at CodeDay?
Yes! We've found that, in general, the skill of participants does not play a significant role in who wins awards.
Remember, judges do not look at the absolute difficulty of a project, but the difficulty for each particular team. Put another way, no one would be impressed at a pro athelete competing in high school basketball. To win an award, advanced teams must also push themselves outside their comfort zone
Can I attend if I dropped out of high school?
Absolutely! If you're not a current student, but still high-school-aged (18-and-under), you are welcome to attend.
What awards can students win at CodeDay?
Almost all CodeDays give awards for:
- Best in Show
- Best in Class - Games
- Best in Class - Apps
Judges are also encouraged to give several "special prizes" for additional teams they'd like to recognize.
Do you provide travel reimbursements to CodeDay?
We don't offer travel reimbursements in the sense of many traditional hackathons.
For Invited Schools
We may offer free transportation to certain schools which serve a predominently low-income or underrepresented demographic. If that applies to you, please contact us.
For Students Whose CodeDay Was Canceled
If you were registered for a CodeDay which is later canceled, we will reimburse a carpool of at least three students to a CodeDay within a 2-hour driving distance.
Organizers and event leads, with prior approval from the appropriate manager, can receive reimbursements for travel in accordance with the SRND reimbursement and travel policy.
(Reimbursements for automobile transportation are at the IRS-set nonprofit rate.)
How big can a CodeDay team be?
If you want to remain eligible for all awards, your team should have between 1-6 people, all of whom need to be at a CodeDay (but not necessarily your city's CodeDay).
If you don't care about competing for the "Best in Show" or "Best in Class" awards, your team can have as many people as you'd like, and you can even work with friends remotely!
Note that, regardless of the rules, we strongly recommend you work with no more than four people. Usually larger teams get less done by the end due to the additional coordination required.
Can students attend CodeDay with only a tablet or phone?
If you're a beginner, you can generally attend with only a tablet (we don't recommend a phone due to the small screen size).
What is CodeCup?
At CodeDay, CodeCup is a 1 hour session where students from each city compete to hack into simulated computers, as well as detect other hackers using real-world tools.
The event is real-time and city-vs-city, so you'll be working with local students to show that your city is the best.
What prizes can I win at CodeDay?
CodeDay is not a highly competitive event, and does not generally offer prizes. (Sometimes certain activities at CodeDay, such as a video game tournament, may offer prizes, however.)
Are you able to accomodate students with severe food allergies?
If you let us know about your food allergy in the registration process at least a week before CodeDay, we should have no problem providing food meeting their needs.
However, we cannot guarantee a completely safe environment. Students, mentors, venue staff, etc. can easily bring their own snacks in a backpack, which may contain the allergen. We do not assume any liability for harm from allergic reactions at the event.
Please send your student with an epinephrine injector, inhaler, or any other appropriate medical devices.
Do students need to be dropped off or picked up by a parent?
For students who are minors, a parent will not need to be present for drop-off as long as they've completed your waiver online in advance. (You can find more details in your ticket email.)
Likewise, students do not need to be picked up by a parent, as long as the student is not planning to leave early.
May elementary school students attend CodeDay?
Unfortunately, we are not able to accept elementary school students to CodeDay at this time.
Are you allowed to work on your project before CodeDay?
To remain eligible for all awards, substantially all of your project needs to be created at CodeDay. For example, the following would not be allowed:
- Working on an app you started in school.
- Continuing to work on a game from last CodeDay.
- Modifying assets in an open-source game.
- Using a large amount of art you created earlier.
On the other hand, these are definitely ok:
- Using an open-source framework or library, provided it's free and wasn't created specifically for your app.
- Using one or two sprites you'd created for a past game.
- Copying a couple of functions from a previous app you worked on.
- Concept art, notes, storyboards, and notes.
Exactly what is an isn't allowed is defined in the CodeDay rules, but judges are ultimately responsible for assigning awards, and they have a lot of leeway in interpreting the rules.
If you don't care about awards...
Awards aren't super important at CodeDay (and there are no big prizes), so if you don't care about winning the "Best in Show" or "Best in Class" awards, you can do anything you want before CodeDay! Just be upfront and honest about what you created in advance.
You'll still be eligible for any special awards the judges create.
Can I come to CodeDay just for the workshops?
We don't recommend this, because we've designed the workshops to support CodeDay, not as stand-alone content, so you're likely to be disappointed.
That said, we won't prevent you from buying a ticket for CodeDay and leave after the workshops.
A few additional notes:
- Workshops are subject to change at any time. We cannot guarantee that you will be able to attend the workshops you want, or any workshops at all.
- No discounted "workshop only" ticket is available.
- Minors will need to be picked up by a parent, or bring a letter.
They ran out of award certificates at CodeDay, how can I get a copy of mine?
I can't afford a ticket to CodeDay, is there any way I can still attend?
Absolutely! If you can't afford a ticket, contact us for a free one, no questions asked!
May middle school students attend CodeDay?
Yes, but middle school students won't be able to attend the overnight portion of the event.
A parent or teacher must pick up the student between 8-10pm, and the student can return any time after 7am. (We recommend 8am to have time to prepare for judging.)
Exception for School Groups with Chaperones
Official school groups may attend overnight if they provide a ratio of 1 chaperone for every 10 students attending. (Because we can't accept chaperones except as part of a school group, this does not apply to individuals.)
Exception for Students Who've Attended in the Past
Students who've attended CodeDay at least twice in the past may contact us for an exception.
Is there a waiver or other paperwork required to attend?
Because we'll be photographing the event, and other media outlets may be present, students, teachers, and chaperones all need to bring a signed media release form. Minors will need to have this form signed by their parents.
We will send you this form after your registration.
How do I replace a lost award?
What will students be able to eat at CodeDay?
Although food varies from event-to-event, typical food includes sandwiches, pizza, pasta, and continental breakfast. For exact details for your event, please contact us the week of the event.
If you have a food allergy or other dietary restrictions, please let us know in the pre-event survey, which is part of the contact info/waiver signing process.
Are desktop computers allowed at CodeDay?
Yes, desktop computers are allowed, however you will need to bring everything required for your computer to work, including a monitor and all cables.
Most CodeDay venues do not allow participants to use the wired ethernet, so you will also need to bring a wifi adapter.