By: CHRISTINA CLARK
The Grille was overtaken for a few hours on Aug. 31 by video game consoles, offers of free pizza, a virtual reality (VR) headset, music, free t-shirts and even a Pokémon lure to entice students around campus to the University Information Technology Services (UITS) event, Game On.
Students sitting around The Grille were surprised at the large screens installed with Xbox 360s and Wiis. Some students casually plopped down into the provided chairs and started playing video games to relax.
As students were drawn closer to Firesides A and B, they were given the chance to earn a free t-shirt from UITS for stopping at the appropriate vending booths to learn information from both the university’s offerings as well as companies interested in serving students.
“We get local departments participating, and it’s a real team effort for IUSB UITS,” said UITS Manager of Communication Kathleen Weidner.
“Everyone pulls together, we’re serving pizzas, we’re setting tables up, we’re doing 3D printers, the game stuff, so it’s a big UITS effort to pull this thing off.”
The VR headset attracted a constant gathering of onlookers watching the curiosity seekers who stepped forward to try to the program and move about in their own little world.
“It was awesome,” said one such student, Matthew Forsythe. The game in the VR headset “was an art program, just an art demo, but I would use this at home,” said Forsythe.
“Each campus invites different tables and groups and things like that,” said Alicia Hosey from UITS Bloomington. “Technology changes really quickly and so we do this at the beginning of the semester each year.”
UITS hosts this event at each IU campus at the beginning of the fall semester to update as many students as possible on what tech offerings the schools, departments, clubs and companies offer students.
“Things change over the summer for students, so we do this event to tell people what’s new with UITS technology,” said Hosey. “The vendors have new deals for students that they talk about, and it’s just really an event to keep the students informed about what UITS is about and what we have to offer them.”
A major change highlighted this year was the retiring of OneStart and the transition to One.IU.
“This is used a lot as a sounding board [for students],” said Hosey. “What do you want? What can we improve? So this is a great opportunity for them to come out and see what One.IU needs to do for students.”
“IT training is here to talk about what kind of trainings they have to offer and what students need to take advantage of while they’re still here,” said Hosey.
IT certifications and program classes can be found on the UITS website, or through their office.