Middle school and high school students participate in annual Idea Festival

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.- Some 750 middle and high school students were at Western Kentucky University on Wednesday for Idea Festival. Students from 17 school districts from Kentucky and Tennessee participated in the annual festival.

Engineering educators Newton’s Attic brought back the SPINtron, a multi-axis trainer that simulates what an astronaut experiences in space. Also new this year, WKU student graphic design association AIGA demonstrated the letterpress, and the WKU Small Business Accelerator let students play with 3-D printing pens.

The theme this year is “the future is now,” encouraging students to create, innovate and become entrepreneurs.

“The purpose is to get them thinking that their ideas have value, and to start to see connections. To see that maybe they’re interested in poetry and engineering, and that could work,” said Erica Solberg, program coordinator at Idea Festival.

Many of the activities at the festival focused on entrepreneurship.

“I like that there’s a lot of entrepreneurship opportunities, and there are other things, but you don’t see a lot of that for kids our age,” said Sophie Mcanelly, a freshman at Taylor County High School.

WKU student Bornwyn Liddle is a printmaking major who just received a grant to purchase a small letterpress machine.

“It’s a really fantastic idea to have for the community, and a really awesome way to engage kids in wanting to learn more and do more and realize the creative fun things that they could do with an education,” said Liddle.

Students also had a chance to participate in improvisational dance and comedy, offered at Idea Festival for the very first time. This is the sixth year for Idea Festival, and Solberg said it keeps evolving.