The Velocity Residence Experience; as told by Bart Chrzaszcz
Even before accepting his offer to the Computer Science program at the University of Waterloo, Bart Chrzaszcz knew he wanted to start a company. With this goal in mind, he applied to live in the startup themed Velocity Residence for his second academic term at university. He was one of 70 students accepted and made the move to the Velocity Residence, located right on campus in Minota Hagey.
His fond memories of the Velocity Residence began during the first week while attending a series of events geared towards helping residents decide on a project to work on for the 4-months. A hackathon was hosted on the final day of Bootcamp Week so students were able to bring their ideas to life. For Bart’s first hackathon, he teamed up with a group of students he’d never met before and built an automatic drawer system, which using APIs could retrieve any item placed inside.
Bart loved meeting other students, and enjoyed the community that weekly dinners, common living areas, and shared kitchens afforded him:
“Being surrounded by upper-years was a great experience because I had friends to ask about academics, co-op applications and get advice.” – Bart Chrzaszcz, Velocity Resident
He enjoyed the Velocity Residence so much that he applied for a second consecutive term while on co-op. “I wanted to return so quickly because a couple of my friends were coming back, and we knew we wouldn’t have the opportunity to live in a place like Velocity for a couple of years due to our co-op stream schedules.”.
During his second term, Bart had the chance to use more of the resources available, like micro-funding. Micro-funding is given to residents on request over the term to help them buy tools necessary to build their projects and businesses. Through micro-funding, Bart was able to further his knowledge of machine learning using Udacity – something he wouldn’t have been able to afford on his own. With his newfound knowledge from the course, Bart put together a project he ultimately presented in front of his peers at the final residence dinner of the term; a neural network that used images from a webcam to detect human emotions.
Now, fully aware of the resources, workspace, and funding available at the University of Waterloo for student entrepreneurs, he continues to be a part of the Velocity community. To fellow students interested in entrepreneurship, Bart wanted to share a standout piece of advice he learned that he believes everyone should follow on their startup journey:
“Don’t think of an idea, think of a problem to solve.”
If you’re interested in building your own business, or even just like to work on projects in your spare time, apply to the Velocity Residence for Spring 2018! Applications are open to students of any faculty.