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spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer February 12, 2009
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A look ahead to this year’s Imagine RIT Festival

by Andrew Quagliata

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This column presents opinions and ideas on issues relevant to higher education. To suggest an idea for the column, e-mail newsevents@rit.edu.

As the program for the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival starts to take shape, I wanted to take this opportunity to update the RIT community on how we plan to build upon the success of our inaugural effort.

Students I speak with have been happy to learn that Spring Fest will no longer coincide with Imagine RIT. Instead, they’ll now have two consecutive weekends of excitement in May, with Spring Fest slated to take place the weekend after the festival. Based on visitor feedback we received last year, we’ve also decided to extend the festival’s hours. Visitors will now be able to roam campus from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Many smaller changes have also been made to ensure a positive experience for visitors and exhibitors alike. Allow me to paint a picture of what we envision the 2009 Imagine RIT Festival to look like:

It’s a sunny spring day with temperatures in the mid-60’s. Service providers have been on campus since early in the morning to prepare for at least 20,000 visitors. President

Destler’s Green Vehicle Challenge kicks things off at 9 a.m., as an assortment of teams attempt to top the energy efficiency of Destler’s electric bicycle as they navigate a three-mile loop around campus. As the public begins to swarm campus in time for the festival’s 10 a.m. opening ceremony, they’ll be greeted by volunteers (wearing orange T-shirts) at one of six welcome tents that have been sprinkled across campus.

Like last year, the festival will stretch from the Louise M. Slaughter Building to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf—with exhibitors (wearing yellow T-shirts) showcasing their interactive presentations, hands-on demonstrations, exhibitions and research projects almost everywhere in between. As visitors explore campus, they’ll come across four performance stages that will feature live entertainment throughout the day. They’ll also have the opportunity to purchase a wide selection of food at a number of different locations.

By the time the festival concludes, we hope visitors will feel the need to return next year to further explore all of the innovative and creative things we do at RIT.

Festival day is quickly approaching. One exhibit deadline has already passed and another looms on the horizon. Feb. 16 marks the deadline to be included in the festival’s print program, which will be circulated to visitors on the day of the festival.

Plan to spend May 2 at RIT, and please don’t keep this event a secret; tell your colleagues at other universities, your associates in professional organizations, your neighbors and your friends. Don’t forget to bring your family!

While some things have changed from last year, this remains the same: Imagine RIT is free, open to the public and will take place rain or shine.

Quagliata is chair of the Imagine RIT Program Committee.

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