RIT’s Innovation and Creativity Festival a Big Success

Over 17,000 People Enjoyed Inaugural Event

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Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival kicked off Rochester’s rich festival season this year, drawing a crowd of 17,000-20,000 to the RIT campus.

Imagine RIT, which took place Saturday, May 3, 2008, on the Rochester Institute of Technology campus, demonstrated what can be accomplished when, as RIT President Bill Destler likes to say, “the right and left brain collide.” The 2009 festival is scheduled for Saturday, May 2.

More than 400 interactive exhibits and displays were featured in various locations across campus. Topics included new ideas for products and services, the creative arts, research and design projects, and unique performing arts productions.

“The festival’s mission went beyond showcasing the thriving RIT campus,” Destler said. “We saw it as a call to national service. Innovation is one of our country’s last competitive advantages. Young Americans walk to the beat of their own drummer, and their desire to be different is an innate American characteristic. Channeling that passion in constructive ways will foster the United States’ leadership in technical innovation and creative ideas for new products and services.”

PAETEC served as the premier sponsor of the inaugural event.

The Imagine RIT experience was divided into 10 themes, as festival-goers were asked to Imagine…

  • Being Green: alternative energy and sustainability
  • Healthy Living: sports, nutrition and other wellness-related topics
  • A Global View: diversity and multiculturalism
  • Innovative Science and Technology: ground-breaking scientific research and cutting-edge technology
  • Creative Play: interactive fun for all ages
  • A Communication Revolution: social networking and other new communication mediums
  • On Stage: musical and theatrical performances
  • Artistic Visions: woodworking, ceramic and glass sculptures, photographic exhibits, student-produced films and more
  • New Ventures: start-up businesses from RIT’s incubator, innovative marketing and business plans
  • WOW! Imagine That!: top cross-disciplinary projects, featuring displays from each of RIT’s eight colleges

Traditional festival fare was featured: food, rides, music, inflatable activities and fun.

Since taking over as president last year, Destler has championed what he calls RIT’s “unfair advantage”—its unique combination of programs in the arts and sciences, coupled with the diversity offered by the presence of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

“All of this could be the makings of the nation’s first ‘Innovation University.’ Indeed, RIT has an unfair advantage in this area with its unique program mix and diverse student body,” Destler says. “We need to show off this extraordinary place to the world.”

Along with PAETEC, other major sponsors for the festival were Toyota , Xerox and New York State Sen. Jim Alesi.