This story has been modified from its original version.
Out of the millions of people in New York City on any given day, this past weekend, at least 11 of them were Hokies.
Building construction professor Dr. David Goldsmith organized the trip via the Myers-Lawson School of Construction after securing a time slot on Sunday to present at the biannual Maker Faire, an event hosted by Make Magazine dedicated to showcasing innovators and artisans.
“I’ve been familiar with Make magazine and the movement since it started. I knew this was a big cultural event — you see a lot of people from all kinds of places doing all kinds of things,” Goldsmith said. “I thought it was a good fit for what we’re doing in the lab over at Bishop-Favro Hall. It was an inspiration for me in coming up with the lab, so I wanted to be able to come and share what we’re doing, get the word out a little bit, have feedback and just participate in this broader ‘Maker’ movement.”
The exposition was located in Queens in the Hall of Science on Saturday and Sunday. As reported by the New York Daily News, Maker Faire was expected to draw a crowd of over 70,000, including 650 presenters.
With such a supportive environment from the Maker community, Goldsmith found plenty to draw from for his own presentation.
“We’re trying to take all of this excitement, all this innovation and the revolutions that have occurred in information technology and making technology in the last few decades and apply it to building problems,” Goldsmith said.
The weekend trip to NYC was made possible through the support of the School of Construction, which covered the large majority of the expenses. The ten students, ranging from undergraduate to graduate students in various fields, contributed $100 to help finance the costs of travel, lodging and tickets to the Maker Faire.
Because the sponsorship of the School of Construction made the trip affordable, some students had their first ever opportunity to experience Maker Faire and New York City, like in the case of sophomore electrical engineering major Saiara Adrita.
“This was my first time,” Adrita said of the Maker Faire. “I really liked the booth for Microsoft. They had robots and programming and I’m really into electronics. For a change, I also liked the craft site. They had pretty interesting stuff, too.”
Junior electrical engineering major Johnathan Mayo also found booths of interest while exploring the fairgrounds on Sunday.
“The highlight of the Maker Faire was seeing the live Mousetrap game. These guys had taken the board game, Mousetrap, and built it to a larger-than-life scale. A two-ton safe dropped at the end onto a taxicab,” Mayo said.
The trip was not all business, however. A 5 a.m. start on Friday for the 502-mile drive allowed the group time on Friday evening to explore the city. Members of the group also had the option of venturing out on Saturday to do additional sightseeing.
“Outside of Maker Faire, I met my friends and yesterday we went to the Empire State building. Then we went around Manhattan and walked around the city. It was a really good weekend all-in-all,” Adrita said.
Mayo, who visited the Museum of Natural History, agreed.
“It was a fantastic opportunity. I’m glad I had the chance.”