Alumnus lecturer helps hook-ups and nonprofits

Posted by Alex Brehm

Few students know about it but the once-popular internet service for Skidmore students, Hookup (student.skidmore.edu/hookup), is still available to match up Skidmore students to their secret admirers.

After logging in to the website, students can enter the usernames of students in they are romantically interested in. If the interest has done the same to them, Hookup will send both students a message telling them that they have been matched.

The website allows students to find out about their crushes without risking rejection.

Hookup was designed by Andrew Cencini '01, a computer science and classics alumnus who has returned for a semester to lecture in the computer science department.

"It's funny that it's called Hookup, actually, because the site was designed as a way to avoid the hookup culture on campus," Cencini said. "It's meant to connect students romantically."

Cencini is currently teaching an introductory computer science course, as well as "Cloud Computing and Distributed Systems," a class about large-scale computer services such as Google, Facebook, BitTorrent and other large computer networks.

Before teaching at the college, Cencini ran his own software development business, designing software for managing data centers. Before his business, Cencini worked at Microsoft, producing structural programming for the Internet search engine Bing.

While he was a student, Cencini took on a number of other programming projects, such as designing the online SGA voting system.

"Before that, it was all paper ballots," he said. "You'd line up in the Dining Hall to vote."

Cencini also designed the Student Announcements email program. His name is visible at the bottom of the Announcements website along with the names of other students who have updated the service since he graduated.

Cencini is currently working on a new project called Technology 4 Good. He is collaborating with other programmers in the Saratoga area to design technological tools for nonprofit and charitable organizations.

One of the group's plans is to start a website providing used goods to nonprofits. Instead of throwing out old equipment, such as a lawn mower or a computer, homes and businesses could post the good to the website, allowing a local nonproft to use it.

"It's like the Freecycle table in Case Center," Cencini said.

Like Hookup, Cencini hopes that Technology 4 Good serves to connect people — in this case through social and environmental justice rather than romance.

Cencini is looking for interested students to help out in the projects and gain experience in programming and working with charities.

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