Rochester Institute of Technology’s inaugural One SpiRIT: Global Hockey Festival attracted more than 1,600 Tiger fans on Saturday outside of Gene Polisseni Center.
The event linked RIT’s main campus with its international campuses in Croatia, Dubai and Kosovo via Cisco Telepresence videoconferencing technology, allowing RIT students around the world to interact like never before. Additionally, festival-goers were treated to an assortment of carnival games, live music, food, T-shirts and more prior to the women’s hockey game.
“We wanted to make the world smaller and make RIT bigger,” said John Moore, assistant vice president for Facilities Management Services. “The amount of people involved with making this happen was crazy. Everyone had a piece.”
More than 1,500 fans attended the women’s game, including 1,000 students, and more than 3,500 attended the men’s game, including nearly 1,200 students. To put those numbers in perspective, the old Frank Ritter arena has a maximum capacity of 2,100 people.
“This was something we couldn’t have even dreamt of five or 10 years ago,” said Karey Pine, senior director of the RIT Center for Campus Life.
Because of One SpiRIT’s success, administrators are already thinking of new ways to use the technology that powered the celebration in future events, according to Pine. There are currently around five such ideas being discussed, including a potential global RIT talent competition.
“One SpiRIT was amazing—we had such a good turnout,” said Katie Tigue, a fourth-year game design and development student from Wantagh, N.Y. Tigue is also the B. Thomas Golisano Computing and Information Sciences student senator and worked at the event.
More than 700 international RIT students celebrated at pubs, clubs and their own campuses. On top of interacting with their fellow RIT students around the globe, the students were able to watch the men’s and women’s hockey games via a special RIT One SpiRIT website.
“It was nice to see the other campuses that we always hear about,” said Mike Desiato, a fourth-year chemical engineering student from Ontario, N.Y. “The best part of the day was the men’s hockey game, even though we lost. The new arena is just so awesome.”