From discussions of the future of on-campus entrepreneurship to solving global problems through big data and exploring the possibilities of the human mind, Texas A&M University made its presence felt with its ideas and told a story of innovation and discovery on an international platform from March 10-15 at SXSW in Austin.
President Michael K. Young captured the essence of Texas A&M’s mission at SXSW Interactive Week and its close ties to the purpose of Land Grant institutions on the first day at Texas A&M House: mobilize ideas and share them with the world.
“Research that goes on at universities is important. It has a long-term perspective, which is frequently valuable and is something that corporations are less able to do. It can transform,” Young said. “But it doesn’t do any of that if it doesn’t get out into companies and out into the market, into the real world and into the lives of real people.”
For five days, the Hotel Van Zandt in the center of Downtown Austin became the Texas A&M House and opened itself to audiences of exhibitors around the world during SXSW’s Interactive Week. When visitors weren’t engaged in panel discussions, which included “The Rise of Academic Incubators,” “The Human Lab: Revealing the Emotional Brain,” and “Uncovering Trends: Interacting with Big Data,” they had the chance to explore the Texas A&M House in other areas. What were once ballrooms and conference space in the hotel became interactive demonstration space for “The Collision of Art and Technology” and Virtual Reality showcases that allowed visitors to discover Aggie research around the world.
Texas A&M students also held the spotlight at SXSW through events like the “Texas A&M Invents for an Intelligent Future” competition where a team of students emerged as the winner with a lifesaving device, and the rollout of a student-designed and built formula-style racecar.
Shayla Rivera, a Texas A&M former student and a former NASA rocket scientist, praised student innovation on day three at Texas A&M House.
“There is a modesty to their incredible creativity and their achievements and the things they have been able to do with their lives,” Rivera said. “I travel all over the world and I can say there is something different about Texas A&M.”