club spotlight

Club aims to make coding more accessible for local youth

In early 2017, Coding&&Community was founded on campus by a small group of students. This addition to the Rensselaer community serves to educate local youth about computer programming and problem solving. The goal is to bridge the gap between coding and different roadblocks a student may face, including gender, race, socioeconomic status, and more.

Coding&&Community organizes a variety of events throughout the year. Members work with Rensselaer’s Science Technology Entry Program, which helps assist underprivileged students with the learning skills they need to be successful in school. Weekly events involve teaching local students—from elementary to high school years—different aspects of programming. Every Saturday, members run a workshop to teach Python on campus; these workshops expose a small number of youth to the Rensselaer campus. Additionally, members teach a weekly introductory course on Java and CSnap—a beginner programming language built from C— at Troy High School.

For all of these events, the club has designed their own curriculum that they feel “exposes students to the fundamentals of coding as well as the importance of being technologically and socially adept.” When talking to club member Keenan Ganz ’22, he mentioned that someday he hopes the Coding&&Community curriculum is available for every teacher to use and for every student to learn from.

Ganz was also involved in organizing Launchpad—Coding&&Community’s biggest event of the Spring semester. This event brought high school students to the Rensselaer campus, where they participated in a weekend-long hackathon. Club members assisted by holding workshops throughout the weekend. Ganz emphasized that the workshops were really open-ended, and members were allowed to teach about any computer science topic that interested them. Similarly, the club hosted XTech as their main Fall semester event.

Although Coding&&Community is fairly new, its member base has grown with the freshmen class this year, and continues to; there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. If you have a passion for computer science or enjoy working with children, this club may be of interest to you. There are numerous ways to volunteer, even if you can’t commit long-term. To connect with the club or find out more about their meeting times, visit the Coding&&Community website