What is Ruby for Good?
Ruby for Good is an annual event based out of the DC-metro area where Ruby programmers from all over the globe get together over a long weekend to build projects that help our communities. Think hanging out in communal space for a weekend with a bunch of developers and designers to build something useful. Participants stay in on-site dorms; hacking and socializing takes place in communal areas. Join us just for the fun of giving back! Questions? Check out the FAQ below or drop us a note.
Why are ya’ll organizing Ruby for Good?
Lots of organizations need the sort of technical help we can provide but are unable to afford it. We want to be the do-gooders that volunteer to solve non-profit business/technical problems. Very little effort on our part can make a huge difference to a non-profit. We want to help!
What skill level do I need to be to attend?
All experience levels are definitely welcome! We have a wide variety of skill levels ranging from those who have next to no experience, all the way up to very senior people who work at places like Github and LivingSocial. The event is as much about learning as it is about building great things. Groups are very collaborative and you’ll definitely have the opportunity to work closely with others and push a lot of code. :)
Do I need to be a programmer?
We need both developers and designers at Ruby for Good.
Do I need to be a Ruby programmer?
You don’t HAVE to be a Ruby programmer but it does help. We’re more than happy to welcome programmers of other languages, especially if you’re interested in learning some Ruby. :)
How do you choose projects?
A lot of cold-calling/emailing individuals and organizations, soliciting suggestions from people we know, and from YOU in the community. We go through a process of vetting possible projects and select based on viability of completion, need, open-source status, and general impact on business functions.
What’s an appropriate project?
Good projects can be completed in about a weekend, help improve the efficiency of a non-profit, and are open-source so we can help give back to the community. Have the beginnings of an idea? Suggest a project!
How do I suggest a project?
Have a project you’re jonesing to work on? Suggest a project!
What ARE the projects this year?
This year projects are focused around womens issues and families and we have some great organizations lined up! We’ll announce project details, including available teams to join, around the beginning of May after registration closes.
I want to lead a team. What do I do?
During registration we’ll ask if you’d like to lead a team - say yes! We’ll be in touch in mid-to-late March with potential projects. We’ll brief you on expectations and put you in touch with your non-profit so you can work with them in advance of the event to set up project requirements, milestones and initial set up so you can hit the ground running with your team at Ruby for Good. Setup includes creating a github repo under the Ruby for Good github, filing issues and making some technology suggestions. You can read about the team lead process here.
I don’t know if I want to lead a team. What do I do?
In general, leading a team entails connecting with stakeholders, initial architecting, planning out project milestones, and keeping your team moving forward. Here’s more information about leading a team from Brandon Rice, a team lead in 2015 (who was SUPER awesome. Just sayin’.). Still not sure and want to talk about it with an organizer? Drop us a note.
Do you allow remote teams at Ruby for Good?
Unfortunately we’re unable to accomodate remote teams this time around. We’d be open to discussing that as an option in 2018 for very enterprising and motivated individuals. Drop us a note.
How can I help?!
- Suggest a project - We always need worthy projects! We’ve compiled a google doc to help you figure out a project. Suggest a project!
- Lead a team - a great way to up your skills, especially if you’ve been programming for a while and are eager for the experience of leading a team.
- Donations/Sponsors - we need lots of help with fundraising. Ruby for Good is expensive and we’d like to offer tickets to the wonderful folks who volunteer for as little as possible. This is only possible with donations and sponsors! Reach out to your employers to see if they would be willing to help us give back to our community. :)
- Attendees - we need both developer and designer expertise!
Is this a hackathon?
No. This is definitely not a hackathon. Sean cringes everytime someone mentions ‘hackathon’ and ‘Ruby for Good’ in the same sentence. (Try it.)
When do I need to purchase my tickets?
By May 1st or when we sell out, whichever comes first!
Oops, I bought my ticket and now I can’t go. Will you please refund/transfer?
After February 28th we will be unable to offer refunds but we will happily help coordinate exchanges until May 1st. Drop us a note.
What does my registration go toward?
The event costs money to put on. We try to raise as much as possible through sponsorships and donations but so far this amount has been unable to cover the cost of venue, food, shirts, transportation, and other minutia. By charging a little, we’re able to break even for the event.
When do tickets go on sale?
Feb 10, 2017!
Do I really HAVE to get there by 5pm on Thursday?
Yeah, you really do. Teams will be chosen right around that time and you’ll spend dinner meeting with your team, chatting about your projects, and getting your environments aligned. We’ve found the event is most successful, with the most buy-in, when teams are a cohesive bunch from the beginning.
How early can I arrive on Thursday?
Most of the organizing team is planning on arriving at 10am but feel free to beat us there!
How does food work?
The cafeteria is open for 2 hours during meal times (breakfast, lunch and dinner). We’ll post the hours and details shortly. It’s all-you-can-eat so be prepared to fill up your tray and eat until you’re full!
I’m a vegetarian/dairy-free/vegan/gluten-free/paleo/allergic to… will you feed me?
Absolutely. In 2017 we will be eating food cafeteria-style and the chefs accomodate all dietary needs. And yes, rest assured there will be plenty of lentils! ;) Attendees from 2016 who had dietary restrictions told us this was the best they had ever been fed at an event!
What’s it REALLY like at Ruby for Good?
So glad you asked! For expert insight, here are a couple of blog posts written up by past attendees:
What tour? What’s a FONZ?
The Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) is giving us a personalized, not-open-to-the-public tour of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) grounds and animal habitats so we can learn about red pandas, bison, and other friendly creatures, their homes, and the research being done on-site. We’ll have more information about this soon!
Do you have scholarships?
We have a limited number of scholarship tickets but are unable to provide transportation funds. Criteria for selection includes the ability to get to the DC-area on your own, a documented financial need, and a short essay. Apply for a scholarship here.
What do I need to bring?
Bring yourself, your laptop, a powersource, some clothes and your favorite boardgames. Maybe some sunscreen if the weather’s nice. If you anticipate skipping group meals, bring some munchies. If you’re a light sleeper, bring earplugs. All the basics are provided (linens, pillows, beds, towels, etc.) We have a fun outdoor activity planned for one evening so camping chairs, a sweater and maybe some bug spray are highly recommended.
How do I get there?
We are collecting information about carpooling here. Please fill out the form if you need a ride or can offer a ride and Kalimar will do his best to match people up! Contact Kalimar at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hop into the #carpool channel in slack for more info!
How do I indicate I want to room with my friend/significant other?
During registration we ask if there’s anything else you’d like us to know - indicate in this section who you’d like to room with and we’ll make it happen.
How do room assignments work?
Rooms contain two single beds and a bathroom. After registration closes (May 1), we will create random, same-gender room assignments (unless specifically requested otherwise via the registration form). We are tentatively planning to introduce you and your roomie via email so you know who you’re staying with ahead of time. If you’ve neglected to indicate your roommate preference in the registration form, please drop us a note.
Do you have a code of conduct?
We are proud to have a code of conduct.
How is 2017 different from 2016?
Cost is slightly higher because the Smithsonian is charging us more.
Can my family come?
Unfortunately not this year due to the location being a closed research institute.
Do I get something special if I’ve been for the past 4 years?
A big bear hug from all the organizers!