Imagine RIT to be held virtually on May 1

Online exhibitors will show off their creativity and innovation

After careful consideration, it has been decided that this year’s Imagine RIT Creativity and Innovation Festival will be fully virtual for safety and planning purposes. The date remains set for May 1, 2021.

“We are incredibly excited to see our exhibitors rise to the challenge of taking their creativity and innovation to this new platform, and for the global reach this year’s festival will have,” said Ann Miller, director for Imagine RIT and Special Events.

Last year’s Imagine RIT festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The festival, which has attracted nearly 300,000 visitors since it was first held in 2008, is a campus-wide event that showcases the creative and innovative spirit of RIT students, faculty and staff. Visitors are typically welcomed to experience the breadth and depth of RIT through interactive presentations, hands-on demonstrations, live performances, exhibitions, and research projects set up throughout campus.

The premier sponsor for this year’s festival is Rochester Regional Health.

Videos of exhibits are expected to be uploaded to the Imagine RIT website and is expected to go live at 10 a.m. on May 1 after a kickoff of the opening ceremony led by RIT President David Munson.

This year’s format also offers opportunities for RIT’s global campuses in Kosovo, Croatia, Dubai and China to participate as they haven’t before.

“We are excited for more involvement of the RIT global community given its virtual presence,” said Lyndsey McGrath, director for Global Programs. “We expect significantly more global campus students and staff to participate as exhibitors. The online mode also gives access to our global campus faculty, staff, students, and alumni—as well as other international partners—to virtually attend the festival and interact with RIT in ways that has not been possible in the past.”

Mitchell Sweet, a fifth-year web and mobile computing major from Roslyn, N.Y., is president of the RIT Theme Park Enthusiasts club, which has presented extraordinary and popular exhibits in five prior Imagine RIT festivals.

They plan to have a virtual exhibit this year.

“We are always looking forward to what new and exciting experiences we can bring to future Imagine RIT festivals,” Sweet said. “While there is definitely a bit of sadness knowing that Imagine 2021 will be online due to the pandemic, it also brings an amazing opportunity to RIT and the Theme Park Enthusiasts. Instead of our usual in-person interactive exhibit, we will be providing a video exhibit that is sure to live in the memories of festival attendees.”

Sweet said the virtual festival will mean this year’s exhibits can live on forever.

“It’s great that we can use our exhibit going forward to show what our club is all about, inspire new members, and perspective RIT students,” Sweet said. “It’s also great that international RIT campuses can participate since the club has not been able to reach those students at Imagine in the past.”

The deadline to submit an exhibit video is March 15, 2021. For more information on creating a virtual exhibit, go to the Imagine RIT website for exhibitor submission guidelines.