Summer activities continue in full force on campus: “Exploring Engineering Design,” a hands-on, project-based summer camp for girls, has been here all week. I could tell they’d arrived because a heap of pink campus bikes that have been used beyond repair appeared on the lawn in front of Guion. They were clearly being transmuted into something, but what? I couldn’t tell. Here’s an explanation from our news story:
“In front of Guion, two high school girls work feverishly on a rusty pink bicycle. They’ve taken the rubber tire off the back wheel and are getting ready to attach a PVC pipe. Clearly, no one’s going to ride the bike anymore. Instead, it’s being repurposed as a “sunflower seeder,” explain 16-year-old Carter Kyle from Austin, Texas, and Hanna Frazier, 17, from Utah.”
Professor Hank Yochum explains that a low-maintenance machine capable of shelling edible seeds is of great value in the developing world and so makes a terrific project for students, demonstrating the power of relatively simple engineering solutions to address real life problems and improve quality of life.
Elsewhere on campus, high school juniors and seniors and their families will soon be visiting as part of Virginia Private College Week. Walkways near the Chapel are being resurfaced, the construction fence has gone up around the library, and paint is drying in several renovated classrooms. The renovated servery in Prothro opened last week, in plenty of time for any last minute wrinkles to be ironed out before students return. Preparations to welcome the class of 2016 are underway in earnest — I signed welcome letters to each one of them this week and yesterday the Deans’ Office staff was preparing their orientation packets. It’s a busy time. . .
This is also the point in the summer when Rick and I take some time to enjoy the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada, celebrating both our wedding anniversary and Rick’s birthday with wonderful shows and a few good books. This summer we have tickets to performances of a new play about the War of 1812, The Matchmaker, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, Pirates of Penzance, Cymbeline, and a Canadian play entitled “Best Brothers.” We’ll be back in about 10 days!