Getting Involved

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The 3 Hour Rule

If you have an idea about what might make the space better, it's best to discuss with several other members, but we do have an unofficial rule that we refer to as "the 3 hour rule"

It is generally acceptable to make a change to the space as long as it can be undone in 3hours or less (by you,) if it is deemed to be an undesirable change.

Forming a Committee

You may notice a need or have a desire to change something at HackRVA. We have found that one effective way to make big changes is to form a committee. This committee will take it upon themselves to make informed decisions and plan how to execute changes. The committee will then report to the Monthly Membership meeting before enacting the changes.

When large build outs or large HackRVA projects are presented to the monthly membership meeting. We should encourage a committee to be formed to plan and execute. This will reduce the planning that happens at membership meetings and allow for more than just one topic to be discussed at the meeting.

How To Form a Committee

  • Attend a member meeting (last Wednesday of the month) or join the #leadership channel on slack
    • state your idea/plan and declare that you would like to form a committee to accomplish the goal,task,project, and/or change.
    • share with membership that the committee exists and what its goal/purpose is.
  • Start a Slack channel (This is optional, but can be a great way to communicate)
  • Schedule meetings to plan or discuss entirely on slack channel
  • Schedule time to execute plans

Be sure to report progress back to the membership (either at a member meeting or the #leadership channel on slack)

Some examples of successful committees:

  • Room swap - Swapping the woodshop with the techlab
  • Purchasing the laser
  • Planning for secondary clean space
  • Building arts and crafts area/cabinets & counter in main room
  • XCarve restore and station build out
  • CNC router purchase

If you have further questions about how to start a committee join the #leadership channel on slack.

The Quarterly Goal Initiative

The HackRVA Quarterly Goal initiative (we sometimes call it BHAG -- i.e. Big hairy audacious goal) is a quarterly drive to make progress and enable people to contribute to the space. Join the conversation on our slack channel #BHAG.

Volunteering at HackRVA

We have no staff. That means YOU are the staff. We all share the tools, but we all share the chores too. Clean up after yourself, and speak up when you see a member leaving a mess. Also say something when you see a member not using proper safety equipment or methods. If you see a member operating equipment when they are intoxicated or otherwise mentally impaired, get on Slack, or email info at Try to get their name. The organization could be liable for injuries.

Get on Slack. You should get an invitation when you get your RFID tag assigned, but just in case, you can ask at info AT or at a Thursday open house. We use Slack to communicate. The app is free and on all platforms.

See the tasks whiteboard in the space for tasks that need to be completed. Or email info AT for more specific details.

(Note: We've tried several iterations of digital management systems - so far a whiteboard kicks their butt)

We have Space Improvement days on the first Wednesday night, and the second Saturday at noon. Come in and do whatever we see that needs to be done, from dusting and taking out the trash to repairs to improving things. Your choice! If we have a good crowd we buy pizza.

We have a leadership meeting the last Wednesday each month at 7PM to 8PM. All members are welcome and encouraged to attend. Any members at the meeting will be included in discussions. If you want a tool or improvement, come and tell us about it. If you have a problem at Hack.RVA, this is one place to tell us about it. It may not happen that month, but this is where it starts.

If you are experienced with a tool or know how to fix it, consider joining the HackRAT program. RATS stands for Repair And Training System.

If you have knowledge you can share, give a class or workshop. Ask for help on Slack. You can charge for it if you would like: Hack.RVA takes 30% after the cost of materials.

Last, we are a community. Be a part of it. Talk to other members. We all have our special skills, and you will likely find others with similar interests, and skills you can use.

Other Sweet Volunteer Activities

  • Join the HackRAT Program (Repair And Train) to help keep tools running and train others on their use.
  • Lead a workshop (contact us and we'll set you up with meetup and assist with lesson plans if needed)
  • Start a new event (again, contact us, and we'll give you the social media tools to advertise)
  • Improve the Wiki (just create an account, and start adding useful info)
  • Post a project to the maker blog (anyone at HackRVA can be a blogger, just ask and we'll give you access)
  • Research and recommend a purchase (add them to our acquisitions spreadsheet (link needed))
  • Socialize with new folks during open house (Thursday nights)
  • Attend monthly business/board meetings and help figure out the way forward at HackRVA (see the calender for dates)