The Computer Science program at Lewis offers a number of opportunities for students to get more involved in their major as they get to know each other. We have a student chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), an internationally recognized professional organization for computing professionals. We host a chapter of Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE), the national honors society in Computer Science. In fact, we are one of only six schools in Illinois to host a chapter of UPE. Both ACM and UPE have a professional focus, and belonging to them is a great way for students to make their resumes shine a little brighter for prospective employers.
Computer scientists like to have a little fun, too. After all, we typically don’t take cues from Justin Timberlake when we dress for school. We’re mostly a casual bunch. So, it isn’t surprising that one of our most popular and longest-running extracurricular activities is our social computing group, the Prometheon Technology Club. Prometheon was founded by three Computer Science students in 2005 as an interdisciplinary group that invited students from all majors who love video games, computers, and technology of kinds to come together and share that passion with each other and with the broader university community. That drive to share the spirit of technological innovation beyond the membership of the group is actually a key component of the group’s mission, as the club is named after Prometheus, the character from Greek mythology who broke rank with exclusive country club of the gods to share the gift of fire with mankind. For the members of Prometheon, technology is the fire, and they share it with anyone who is interested.
As a registered student organization, Prometheon has hosted a number of educational, social, and service events since its inception eight years ago. Its members have led e-recycle efforts and computer refurbishment programs. They have hosted clinics on personal cyber security, home audio and video, and how to use Minecraft to teach basic programming logic. They have helped lead weekend afternoon sessions for teaching grade-school and high-school students how to write computer programs. They have hosted clinics on customizing computers, including pimping out desktop gaming computer cases to achieve ridiculous levels of geek chic. They have helped plan and staff the Computer Science booth at Joliet’s annual Kidzfest for almost a decade. Several years ago, they built a MAME arcade cabinet from scratch, configuring not only the computer hardware and software to implement the game engine, but also doing the carpentry work and painting to build the physical cabinet. And, of course, they have hosted numerous all-night gaming parties, where students from across the university descend upon the Computer Science labs to play video games and ingest liquefied caffeine from sundown to sunup.
The group had a very auspicious start this past week. Twenty-one people showed up for Prometheon’s inaugural meeting, and a few others who couldn’t attend expressed interest in joining the group, too. The group brainstormed ideas for the coming year, including hosting game parties every other Friday night, sponsoring a “great debate” event for fans of Windows, Mac, and Linux, and holding the second-annual Slender-thon event on Halloween. Slender-thon, a fun event in which students gather in a darkened lab to play the spooky video game Slender, will also function this year as a gruesome Halloween costume party and an excuse to eat copious amounts of sugar.
Prometheon is an awesome student group with a long history of holding engaging events that welcome the entire university community. Stop by our meetings at 3pm on Wednesdays in AS-104-A to learn more.