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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M to host 5 days of events at SXSW Festival

South+by+Southwest
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South by Southwest

Aggies will flock to Austin in March, not to show their prowess on the field or on the court as in the days of old, but instead to demonstrate Aggie innovation on a global stage.
Last week Texas A&M announced the school will be hosting five days of events at this year’s South By Southwest Conference (SXSW). The A&M events pull from research and projects all across the college including a chemistry road show, an interactive data display and a project combining art and technology.
Texas A&M University President Michael Young said in the announcement that the university’s attendance at SXSW will give students and faculty the opportunity to participate on a global stage.
“Our presence during the interactive portion of SXSW places our university among Fortune 500 corporations that can recruit our students, visionary leaders who can grow our already-strong Aggie network and global connections that can further enhance our Texas A&M brand,” Young said.
Amy Smith, senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer for A&M, said the university decided to go during SXSW’s interactive week with the hope of reaching more companies.
“It’s kind of gotten the reputation as being a hippie event over the years, in reality it has arts and entertainment, and it also has companies and government and universities that are doing cutting edge research and innovation,” Smith said. “And it’s become a place where 200,000 people will be going through and seeing these [exhibits] and those people will be ambassadors that will go back to other parts of the United States them to go back talking about our tier one institution and how excellent it is.”
Rodney Boehm, director of Aggies Invent and associate engineering professor, said Aggies Invent will participate at SXSW. Boehm said Aggies Invent is an intensive design competition in which students construct a prototype to solve a need in the world.
“We’ve established some need statements, things that we say need to be developed,” Boehm said. “It’s everything from trying to figure out how to detect infant dehydration or to understand how to detect different kinds of pneumonia, to be able to do vibration analysis of various kinds of pieces of equipment to identify maintenance issues, or it could be an idea that comes completely from students that we haven’t even thought of yet.
Boehm said Aggies Invent will hold a preliminary competition to narrow the field down to three teams of four students that will compete at Aggies Invent, and he said he hopes the event inspires someone to invest in one of the team’s ideas.
“When you are broadcasting to such a worldwide stage at such an important event, we know that by showcasing our students and what they are capable of amazing things are going to happen,” Boehm said. “So we are just almost vibrating with the possibilities.”
Ryan Monheim, 2017 Formula SAE project manager and mechanical engineering senior, said he and his team will unveil the racecar they have designed and built over the past semester as part of Formula SAE. Monheim said while he is excited to be presenting on such a big stage, the team has a lot of work left to do before they are ready.
“We go to paint the chassis in about two weeks, and then we’ll have a couple weeks to get the car assembled and we’re ready to go,” Monheim said. “So we’re on schedule to hit that right now, but it’s still going to be difficult because our schedule is more accelerated than it has been in the past so there is a lot to do.”
Smith said many of the exhibits that will be showcased at SXSW will be brought back to A&M and made available for students on campus and for use in the future.
“This is about taking advantage of a global event which is really not that far away from us and it is really very affordable to be able to do that,” Smith said. “And then to make sure we are using our investment wisely, to make sure that we get back and are able to show students and then have these things housed on campus so we can continue these exhibits.”

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