Imagine RIT festival prepares for record-breaking crowds

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Photo by A. Sue Weisler

RIT President Bill Destler’s Green Vehicle Challenge will again highlight the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival. Imagine RIT organizers are placing a heavy emphasis on bringing area K-12 students to campus for the festival in the hopes of introducing them to RIT and instilling in them a passion for innovation and creativity.

The Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival, which has quickly become RIT’s signature event, is set 
to return for its third year on May 1.

The festival, which drew approximately 17,000 visitors in its first year and 25,000 visitors last year, will again take place from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. across campus. It 
remains free and open to the public.

Festivities kick off Friday, April 30, with the first RIT Innovation Hall of Fame induction, which will be held in the Center for Student Innovation.

Festival day begins with the second edition of RIT President Bill Destler’s Green Vehicle Challenge at 9 a.m. The challenge, which is open to all RIT students, faculty and staff, is to design and construct a vehicle that carries a person who weighs more than 150 pounds along a three-mile course and consumes less energy than Destler’s electric bicycle. The winner must have a vehicle that completes the course with the lowest energy consumed in the least amount of time. Destler will present one of his prized antique banjos to the winner. 

Imagine RIT Chairman Barry Culhane is making a strong push to bring more kindergarten through 12th grade students to campus to experience the festival.

“Imagine RIT presents a unique opportunity to expose area school children to not only RIT’s state-of-the-art facilities, but the passion that exists on this campus for innovation and creativity,” Culhane says. “The passion today’s RIT students have for innovation and creativity will benefit the Rochester region and the entire country.” 

Culhane expects Time Warner Cable, which is in the midst of its own “Connect A Million Minds” program that is geared toward encouraging students to pursue the STEM disciplines, to play a role in encouraging area students to attend the festival.

Program Chair Andrew Quagliata expects visitors will once again be wowed by 
RIT’s ingenuity.

“As we’ve spoken to different groups on campus about the festival, we’ve encouraged them to differentiate their exhibits from what they’ve done in the past,” Quagliata says. “In many cases, visitors will see entirely new exhibits. In other cases, they’ll find exhibits that have been modified and improved from last year. It’s always exciting to see how Imagine RIT takes shape.”