Imagine RIT - A Day of Discovery

Published May 5, 2012

A record crowd of 35,000 spectators discovered the latest in the arts, science, technology and entrepreneurship on May 5 at Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival.

Visitors to Imagine RIT built their own virtual retail stores, experienced the latest in alternative-fuel vehicles, created artwork from their facial expressions, developed computer games and played a “larger-than-life” piano. The festival, celebrating its fifth anniversary, featured 363 examples of innovation and creativity in the form of exhibitions, demonstrations and live performances.

“We delivered on our promise to spotlight new discoveries, sparked by ingenuity from our students, faculty and staff,” RIT President Bill Destler says. “Imagine RIT is special because visitors get to experience the exhibits firsthand. Today, we all experienced the future.”

Visitors throughout the picture-perfect spring day explored Global Village on the west side of campus to the Gordon Field House on the east side of the nation’s 15th largest private university.

An electric-vehicle drag race kicked off the festival, a challenge presented by Destler to showcase alternative vehicles. A team from Women in Engineering at RIT, “Hot Wheelz,” took the checkered flag.

“This is amazing,” says Natalie Ferrari, captain of the Women in Engineering team. “We kept tweaking and tweaking the car the last few weeks. It really paid off.”

The all-electric Hot Wheelz car covered 100 meters in just over six seconds, reaching a top speed of 58 mph on the short track. “We are extremely proud that we did this with an all-female team,” says Ferrari, a mechanical engineering major from Greensburg, Pa., who is graduating May 25. The team chose an antique banjo from Destler’s personal collection instead of $1,000 for the grand prize.

A team of RIT student photographers and bloggers also captured the day. View the festival from their perspective at:

The festival, with Time Warner Cable serving as the premier sponsor, involved 2,700 participants and more than 600 volunteers. The festival has now drawn more than 140,000 visitors in five years. Next year’s festival will be held May 4, 2013. What will we think of next? Go to