Drexel prides itself for many things: its impressive new buildings; the co-op system; and most importantly its innovative students, faculty and staff. Drexel students are thinking and creating every day with renowned scholars and researchers to make groundbreaking discoveries and place our school in the races against other well-respected technology schools. Drexel’s relatively new “Thinking Forward” campaign is an indicator that Drexel is moving up the innovation ladder. The first thing people read when visiting the campaign’s website is, “The achievements of the past are only as valuable as the vision they inspire in us for the future. Welcome to a new school of thought.” So what makes a school stand out for its innovations and discoveries? It’s the people, and Drexel is chock full of students and staff who have helped Drexel earn its ambitious reputation and are sure to reach new heights in the future.
New technologies are emerging from Drexel all the time. This week students turned a portion of the staircase in the Main Building into a functioning piano. Last month, a Drexel professor realized his dream of creating the world’s largest video game display on the 29-story Cira Centre, which is being petitioned to Guiness. If that’s not enough to impress, researchers at Drexel and The Academy of Natural Sciences are now able to make robotic dinosaurs thanks to the advanced development of 3-D printing. Drexel’s Autonomous Systems Laboratory is home to seven humanoid robots as part of a five-year program that started in 2009 to advance humanoid development in the United States. And this is just to name a few.
The University is at an advantage because we are right in Philadelphia, with science and technology inspiration and resources right at our fingertips. Last month’s Philly Tech Week, of which Professor Lee’s supersized Pong game was a part, brought together the brightest minds in technology in the City of Brotherly Love. Drexel innovators and the school’s affiliate The Academy of Natural Sciences contributed to a variety of events and did the Dragons proud. The ExCITe Center was one of these contributors, using NASA’s star luminosity data to create a musical score. Philadelphia’s Music Hack Day earlier this week similarly benefited by contributions from Drexel. There are just so many events and other creative opportunities for technically-inclined University members to thrive, it’s truly great.
Students can’t ignore the fact that our campus is constantly changing — we’ve all heard the incessant complaints about construction and have seen the new business building and Chestnut Square spring up this year. President Fry’s master plan sets the goals for the University from an executive standpoint, and it’s cool that, at least for the 50 years outlined in the plan, Drexel won’t ever be stagnant. But on a much smaller scale than renovations, construction projects and Fry’s dream of becoming an “innovation neighborhood,” Drexel is home to professors and students who refuse to be idle. Sure, like any university, many students spend Saturdays sleeping off hangovers and occasionally skip one class to finish a project they put off from another. But when we get our acts together, the results are pretty impressive. We have students designing apps, starting their own companies and volunteering with nonprofits. At The Triangle, we’re particularly in tune to the impressive projects that our peers are doing because we’re writing, editing and printing stories about them. We’re always changing, always thinking forward, and then doing whatever’s actually needed to move forward.
When final projects and exams start to pile up around this point in the term, the idea of taking time out of one’s schedule to admire some innovation on campus may not seem very appealing. We’re all very busy, but we’re not all directly involved with the awe-inspiring projects going on around us. Your years at Drexel might be the only opportunity in your life not only to get an up-close look at such a diverse range of innovations but also to talk and maybe even work with the people behind them. With that in mind, remember that no matter how busy you are, you may never have another chance like this. It might take some effort, but we can all find the time to be part of something amazing here.