CSS 2017 – magnificent!

CSS has had a wonderful year in a multitude of ways. Thanks to the amazing job that our previous President did and the tireless effort of this years’ wonderful committee, we have had the opportunity to achieve so much. With 46 events and over double the income of the previous year, we have been able to offer more and more to our members.

The first event for the new committee was the CSS barbecue; an afternoon full of delicious food, music, and revelling at the end of the 2016 exam period. With around 80 attendees coming to celebrate another successful year, it was certainly one of our highlights of the year.

Freshers’ Week marked the start of the new academic year and with it hundreds of excited new starters, many of whom we met in the Computer Science Building over the week. Like the previous year, we took around 120 members for a delicious all-you-can-eat buffet at Ming Moon in town so everyone could get to know each other.

CSS freshers 2017

We continued to kick off the term with a bang with HackTheMidlands, a 24-hour hackathon open to anyone and hosted at Millennium Point in Birmingham City Centre. The event attracted over 150 attendees from across the country and was a huge success! Hackathons are amazing places for people to learn, build and share technological expertise, and the attendees certainly managed to do that! There’s a video summary of the event online if anyone would like to view it. 

CSS HackTheMidlands 2017

To continue to welcome the new freshers, we took them all for a welcome night at the Bristol Pear pub, and shortly after worked with the School of Computer Science to run the FutureBoard Pub Quiz, which FutureBoard (once again) kindly hosted and sponsored. The evening filled the atrium of the School with staff and students and was thoroughly enjoyable

Throughout the term we welcomed the Head of Security at Nationwide, and an AI Researcher from Accenture amongst other talks and workshops.

In mid-November we were honoured to host the 2nd iteration of the Women in Technology Conference alongside WISE and oSTEM. This was a day-long conference and a celebration of women working in, or aspiring to, one of the world’s fastest growing industries.

CSS Women in Tech 2017

As December approached, it was time to wrap everything up with our Christmas meal, which we held at the S’Oak this year. With wonderful food and a jolly atmosphere, it’s safe to say that everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We hope that our meal next year is just as good!

CSS Ming Moon 2017

2017 began with another trip to Ming Moon along with assorted tech talks and workshops, socials, hackathon trips and sport events. In mid-February, CSS (along with ChemSoc and MathSoc) was invited to attend Game of Threats™ at PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Birmingham offices.  This is a digital game designed to simulate the speed and complexity of an actual cyber breach and was fascinating to see in action.

The new year brought yet more new opportunities for us as thanks to the support of the wonderful School of Computer Science, we became one of a small number of societies at the University to have its own departmental room, which greatly expands the possibilities of what we could do as a society.

With £1,500 of our own money, and an equal amount of funding from the School, we were able to acquire and set up a ‘Hardware Lab’.  We will fill this with cutting-edge technology like the HTC Vive VR Headset, Thalmic Myo Gesture Control Armbands and much more! With this we are able to provide awesome experiences for our members with equipment that would otherwise be hard to get hold of. We have also begun sponsoring events such as BrumHack in-kind with the Hardware Lab, which is just one of the ways that we are looking at giving back to the tech community.

In recent months we have been working more and more closely with the School, and have organised both a tabletop games night and a PGP session with one of the security lecturers. Both of these went down extremely well and we’re planning on working with the School even more in future. We already have another tabletop night planned for early June, just after exams.

CSS Hardware Lab 2017

To finish off this semester we hosted the 3rd annual CSS Ball at the brilliant Jam House in the Jewellery Quarter. With 82 members coming along, we booked out almost the entire venue! Everyone was treated to a delicious three-course meal followed by a live band playing ‘60s music.

We’ve had an amazing year and we really hope you have too. If you like what you’ve read please nominate us for an EPS Societies’ Award! Here’s to another wonderful year for CSS, where we can strive to reach above and beyond where we are now.

Tom Goodman
President 2016/17