By Jacqueline Hyman, opinion editor, @jacqbh58
When senior computer science major Akiva Futter noticed that most hackathons take place between Friday and Saturday nights, impeding observant Jews from participating, he created JHacks.
JHacksâs purpose is to plan hackathons that occur from Saturday to Sunday nights, allowing Jews and anyone else to participate.
âThe idea behind the event was to meet a need of the community, the broader community,â said Futter, who is president of JHacks. âNot just the Maryland Hillel community or the Maryland community, but this broader Jewish need.â
Futter created JHacks almost a year before the actual hackathon took place and used that time to plan the event, which occurred the weekend of Feb. 12.
As if planning a nationally attended hackathon wasnât enough, Futter has also had several leadership positions in other campus organizations, such as Kedma board member, director of legislative affairs for Terps for Israel and American Israel Public Affairs Committee campus liaison.
âI kind of view him as someone whoâs always trying to accomplish a little more than what heâs already done,â said junior computer engineering major Jeremy Felder, who is the vice president of JHacks.
Futter said being involved with so many groups allows him to take an active role in issues he is passionate about.
âWhen you leave college, I feel like you donât get those type of leadership opportunities until youâre much older and youâve been around much longer,â Futter said. âI feel like, itâs just you have such an opportunity to make an impact on a lot of people.â
He said after the hackathon, JHacks learned a lot about which aspects of the hackathon should be kept, and what they should change for next year.
Futter, who was originally planning on becoming an architecture major, decided to switch to computer science while on gap year in Israel in 2012.
âIâm planning on moving to Israel this summer, and the computer science scene out there is huge, unemploymentâs like next to nothing,â Futter said, âand â¦ itâs a very usable skill thatâs very needed.â
He also practices daf yomi, which means he studies one folio of the Talmud per day, said junior mechanical engineering major Gedaliah Knizhnik, who also engages in this custom.
âI would describe Akiva as very hard-working and goal-oriented and determined,â Knizhnik said. âHe is one of the most determined people I know. When he decides heâs going to do something he gets it done.â
Felder said Futter is very detail-oriented and will stay up until 3 a.m. perfecting one paragraph of an essay if he has to.
â[Itâs] good for keeping track of things and getting things done in a timely matter,â said Felder, who worked with Futter to plan the JHacks hackathon.
Futter said he is very focused and driven and always has something on his mind, but some hobbies help him relax.
âRunningâs the one time when Iâm not thinking,â Futter said.
Regardless, he enjoys all of his activities.
âItâs really fulfilling and rewarding when people come up and say, âThank you for doing this,ââ Futter said.