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October 2019 Newsletter

CSS has had a great start to the academic year this year. We’ve held many events and we have welcomed many new members to the society, as well as many returning members.

Freshers’ Week and Welcome Events

This year the school welcomed almost 300 new undergraduate students and over 500 postgraduate students - more than ever before. The first events held was an informal meetup on the Vale for First Year students. This was an amazing success with over 50 attendees.

The next success for CSS continued on Wednesday of the first week at our annual trip to Ming Moon - the Chinese buffet restaurant in town. This was our first whole-society event of the year and with over 100 attendees. Ending Freshers’ Week, we hosted our first pub night at the Bristol Pear, in Selly Oak on Friday 27th September.

Finally, we concluded the introduction events with Welcome Talks, filling up the Sloman Lounge. Cristian, the President of the society, introduced what CSS will be doing over the next year as well as talking about the local tech community in Birmingham, and of course this was our first event where we brought pizza along.

Local Hack Day: Learn

This year we hosted MLH Local Hack Day: Learn along with our peers at ACSS at Aston University, and HaCS at Birmingham City University. On Saturday 12th October, we welcomed almost 60 students to learn at a one day mini-conference, focusing on new and exciting hackathon skills. The day started with a talk from Bede Kelly, on using the React framework. It then continued with a talk on AWS by Justin Chadwell, and finally we concluded with a talk from Will Russell on making chatbots in Python, with Discord.

Continuing with the Local Hack Day series, the Build day will be hosted on December 7th. We will be working with ACSS and BCU to make this event happen. Stay tuned for more details.


On Wednesday 23rd October, we hosted an EGM to elect a new First Year Rep and a Postgraduate Taught Rep. These positions were previously held in interim by Michael Staig and Mark Titley, elected at the last AGM in March this year.

In the election of First Year Rep, 5 candidates stood for the position. Well done to George Baker, Aidan Dyde, Teodora Sandu and Jacob Wilson for running, and congratulations Valeria Popescu for winning the position. We look forward to working with you for the next few months. We would also welcome the other candidates to work with us and run more and better events - not being elected doesn’t mean you can’t make awesome events happen!

Unfortunately, nobody ran for Postgraduate Taught Rep, so ‘Reopen Nominations (RON)’ won by default. The position is still open to be filled, and if you are interested in this position, please contact one of the committee members.


HackTheMidlands 4.0 was the big event of the month! HTM is an inclusive hackathon run locally in Birmingham for everyone, no matter if you are a complete beginner or a hackathon veteran. CSS works closely with the team at HTM, in fact the organising team and committee has an intersection of 3 members (myself, Tom, and Justin). We’ve worked tirelessly over the last 5 months to pull off this amazing event. CSS provided a hardware lab which included Amazon Alexas, an HTC Vive and other bits of tech.

For many students in CSS, this hackathon is their first experience of a hackathon. The event attracted over 250 attendees, and this year there have been many great advancements, including a completely self reliant network infrastructure, a CTF challenge (made by Justin), and there were even pyrotechnics! The event even featured many workshops, including one run by Justin on ML in the Google Cloud Platform.

Halloween Quiz

A few days ago we brought together staff and students in the annual Halloween Pub Quiz in the atrium. Approximately 70 attendees joined for a quiz hosted by our very own Tom Goodman, with support from Jonty. Being Halloween, we ran a costume competition too! The winning costume was Bob Ross, who even made a tribute to Wafer and Canvas, on canvas. Well done to the winning team, Avocado’s Constant, who scored the most points during the quiz.


Our sponsors Kainos are hosting an office visit event on Wednesday 6th. They would like to invite CSS members who may be looking for internship placement, graduate roles or who are interested in the company to join for an evening of exciting events. Signups for this event are now closed

Kainos have also opened applications for placement years and graduate roles and are ending soon. More info about these roles are available at the link below and Kainos ambassadors, Andreaa Irima, Rav Singh, and Rhys Barrett are more than happy to answer any questions about working at Kainos.

Societies’ Night

The upcoming Societies’ Night will be held at the Guild on Wednesday 20th November. Tickets will be £4 with £1 going back towards societies. CSS will be hosting a gathering before this event, and details about tickets and the CSS costume theme will become available soon.

In the meantime, you can join the Guild Facebook event here.