Ryerson Student Showcase shows off extracurricular innovations

Ryerson University president Mohamed Lachemi opened the showcase on Jan. 22, 2019 with a speech praising extracurricular student activities and the groups that participate in them (All photos by the author).

Held in the packed Kerr Hall gym this past Tuesday, the 2019 Ryerson Student Showcase put a wide variety of student achievements on display from a range of faculties, majors and years.

Held annually, the Student Showcase allows student groups, teams, course unions, societies and independent student-led projects to advertise and promote themselves in a free public forum.

Ryerson University president Mohamed Lachemi opened the event with a speech in which he highlighted the importance of extracurricular student activities and praised the groups participating in the 2019 Showcase.

“We want to see where your talent, energy and creativity take you,” Lachemi said.

“You don’t have to write a test to go to a conference on leadership,” university provost Michael Benarroch echoed. “[With extracurriculars,] you turn a great experience into an outstanding experience.”

The Ryerson Rocketry Club

The Arctic Thunder was a sight to behold, emblazoned with stickers and decals from sponsors, as well as the team itself. According to team leader Joel McQuaid (second from the right), their effects on aerodynamics are “negligible.”

Helming one of the largest booths at the event was the Ryerson Rocketry Club, who were showing off “The Arctic Thunder,” a rocket used in the 2018 Spaceport America Cup held at the Virgin Galactic launch site in New Mexico.

Each year, the RRC sends some of its members to participate in the Cup, where aerospace engineers from a variety of universities compete in height, speed, stability and payload competitions. In 2016, Ryerson’s team took home a silver medal in its category.

Ryerson Rams Robotics (R3)

Sitting across from the Ryerson Rocketry Club was Ryerson Rams Robotics, a team of 92 students from not only every branch of engineering, but also from the faculties of science, communication and design, and the Ted Rogers School of Management.

At the showcase, team R3 was showing off its Mars rover, a life-size, fully functional robot designed to freely move and conduct scientific experiments on the surface of the red planet. At the University Rover Challenge in Utah, R3 was tasked with controlling their creation from kilometres away to complete a series of objectives.

“We had a crazy moment during the competition,” said team member Feroz Balsara. “Things were going well, and then suddenly, we lost communication with the rover. Once we got it back online, we found out that it had been moving full speed the whole time, into a boulder field. “Thankfully for R3, the rover didn’t sustain any major damage in the confusion.

Feroz (left) says that building a rover is more than “just slapping it together.” According to him, every single piece of the robot had multiple decisions behind it.

The Ryerson University Film Festival (RUFF)

According to RUFF coordinators Matthew Knarr and Dempsey Kukko-Pulkkinen, RUFF’s name carries weight among the Toronto film crowd. “They love us at TIFF,” Knarr said.

Representing the more artistic side of the showcase were representatives of the Ryerson University Film Festival, a yearly tradition that brings together the final thesis projects of Ryerson film studies students. This, the 22nd annual festival, will showcase 22 short films from a variety of genres and themes.

“We’re so glad the numbers line up this year,” joked Matthew Knarr, a fourth-year film student and producer of the documentary Against the Current, slated to premiere at the festival.

As the final stage of their university filmmaking careers and a notorious headhunting ground for executives in the Toronto film industry, RUFF is a revered and hotly anticipated event for image arts students at Ryerson.

Ryerson Musician Theatre Company

The Ryerson Musical Theatre Company celebrates its fifth year with Disney’s Newsies, a decision that was the result of a rigorous pitching process.

Each year, the Ryerson Musical Theatre Company combines the talents of actors, set designers, choreographers, directors and more to produce an adaptation of a beloved musical. Following their 2018 production of Into the Woods, the RMTC have set their sights on Disney’s Newsies, starring Ryerson journalism student Mark McKelvie as lead character Jack.

The production will have a four-day run starting March 13 at the Al Green Theatre near the intersection of Bloor Street West and Spadina Avenue in Toronto.