Thousands of people enjoy attending Imagine RIT: Festival of Creativity and Innovation


After going virtual for 2021, thousands of people descended on the Rochester Institute of Technology campus Saturday for an in-person Imagine RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival, which featured more than 250 exhibits across campus from more than 1 800 students and teachers.

Topics ranged from robotics, cybersecurity, arts, biomedicine, performing arts, deaf education and more, with exhibits ranging from a sustainable portable latrine, the RIT Beekeeping Club, interaction with a coral reef and a virtual planetarium.

“It’s been too long,” said RIT President David Munson, as he saw exuberant visitors, carrying their complementary orange tote bags, flock to campus for the festival for the first time since 2019. “flagship event of the university. It gets better every year.”

An ambitious festival-goer, Shirley Murphy, from Lima, NY, was determined to see every exhibit.

Many visitors started their day at the Gordon Field House.

An hour-long live show was also broadcast live from the field house, hosted by TV personality Scott Hetsko, a weatherman on 13WHAM News and radio personality Kimmy Coffey of “The Break Room” from WCMF. They interviewed many students with their exhibits, as well as Munson and Imagine RIT director Ann Miller.

Visitors came hours away to explore the unique exhibits Imagine had to offer:

Ryan Turoff, 16, traveled to Rochester from his cross-state home near Poughkeepsie with his mother and grandmother to see if RIT could be a school he would apply to. He plans to major in engineering, or maybe physics, and ticked off the exhibits he wanted to be sure to see.

“We wanted to come and show him the different areas to choose from in the different majors,” said his mother, Jennifer Thompson Turoff.

But he wasted no time trying out the human hamster wheel, visiting theme park goers and attending the RIT Fencing Club’s epee, foil and saber demonstrations at Gordon Field House.

Another popular place was the ESL Global Cybersecurity Institute, where the latest cyber defense technologies are taught.

The RIT Steelband Ensemble, performing “Imagine” in front of the College of Liberal Arts, was one of nearly 20 performing arts groups that performed during the festival.

And the RIT Pep Band performed “Freebird” to a cheering crowd in Global Village.

The creativity and inspiration of three groups of student exhibitors have been rewarded with $5,000 in the TAD competition, showcasing exhibits at the intersection of technology, arts and design.

These subjects have also been incorporated into other on-campus exhibits, many showcasing their unique talent for fusing art and design.

In the Fireside Lounge, a team from RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf showcased their PopSign app designed to help hearing parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing learn sign language. The project, a collaboration between RIT’s Center on Access Technology and Georgia Tech, is designing the next generation of the game.

And the Futurists Symposium was well attended, featuring three distinguished RIT alumni: Erin Sarofsky ’98 (graphic design), ’00 (computer graphic design), executive creative director and owner of Sarofsky Corp. ; Franklyn Athias ’85 (IT), CTO and Senior Vice President of Xfinity Mobil Retail Convergence – XMRC; and Aaron Gordon, ’13, (film and animation), founder and CEO of Optic Sky Productions.

In Booth Hall, New Media Design students presented CreatureLab. The visitors drew a single body part, and the students transformed the images into monsters after merging them with other visitor drawings.

“I don’t think there’s another college in the country that has this kind of festival,” Munson said. “There is something for everyone to see.”

The main sponsor of the festival this year was Rochester Regional Health.

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