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Science Festival Exhibitor Info

CENI invites faculty, students, student organizations, community members, and community organizations to participate in the Virginia Tech Science Festival.

Science is bigger than you think. Science is a way of thinking and includes social sciences, the art of science, the science of arts, humanities based on data, business based on data, and much more. This is an opportunity to show our community the breadth and depth of the work we do at Virginia Tech.

The festival is Saturday, November 12, 2022, 10 AM-4 PM, Moss Arts Center and Newman Library.

We'll take care of bringing the learners, hosting the event, and evaluating the event. You bring your enthusiasm, your experience, and your willingness to have two-way conversations with learners. Questions? Email us at ceni@vt.edu.

The person submitting this form on behalf of the Organization represents and warrants that he/she has the necessary power, consent and authority to agree to the terms of participation in the Virginia Tech Science Festival. By submitting this form, Organization acknowledges receipt of and accepts the Virginia Tech Science Festival Terms and Conditions.

  • Exhibitors not affiliated with Virginia Tech must provide a certificate of insurance. Certificates must have a minimum general liability coverage amount of $500,000 per occurrence. The certificates must name “Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University” and the “Commonwealth of Virginia” as additional insured, and include the organization name, event date(s) and location(s) in the description area. Sample insurance certificate. A higher coverage amount or additional types of insurance (automobile, etc.) may be required based on the circumstances of the individual event.

  • Festival organizers may reject events that are determined to be excessively commercial. 

  • Festival organizers reserve the right to reject any event for any reason.

  • Festival exhibits must be a high entertainment, hands-on, and interactive experience that promotes science.

  • The promotion and display of firearms, tobacco, or pornography is strictly prohibited.

  • Any significant changes to Festival experience plans must be communicated to the festival director at least one week prior to the scheduled event.

  • To the extent permitted by law, the Organization agrees to release the Virginia Tech Science Festival, its sponsors, participating venues, and their respective officers, agents, employees, and volunteers from all claims for personal injuries, property damage or theft arising in any manner in connection with the Organization’s participation in the Virginia Tech Science Festival. The Organization further agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Virginia Tech, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Science Museum of Western Virginia for any injury or damages to any other person caused by the Organization’s negligence or intentional acts or inactions during the festival, to the extent allowable by law.

  • Festival organizers may modify the festival rules and terms and conditions at any time.

FAQ

There are two steps. 

There is no fee to participate with an experience. Grant funded projects may support the festival with participant support costs to support field trips to campus. We welcome gifts and we encourage your organization to consider becoming a sponsor. Contact us at ceni@vt.edu for sponsorship details.

Not at all. The purpose of this event is to celebrate learning through scientific thinking, including how we do human sciences, the art of science, the science of art, and much more. so any topic that is foundational to a college program of study is fair game here.

No. The primary mission of the Virginia Tech Science Festival is to educate and entertain our festival visitors, and we want the focus of the exhibits to be interactive activities. As a result, festival policy prohibits all exhibitor/vendor sales at our event. However, the festival is a great way for organizations of all types to introduce themselves to the region. Exhibitors are welcome to distribute free promotional materials and also to direct festival visitors to their organizations and websites for off-site giving or purchasing opportunities. Please refrain from passing out candy and extraneous flyers, as they lead to litter.

Yes, a few. The promotion and display of firearms, tobacco, or pornography is strictly prohibited. We may reject exhibits that are determined to be excessively commercial. We reserve the right to reject any exhibit for any reason.

If you make any significant changes to Virginia Tech Science Festival exhibit plans, please notify us at ceni@vt.edu.

This will be our first in-person festival since the beginning of the pandemic, so we are not sure how many people to expect. At pre-pandemic festivals, we had 3000 to 6000 visitors overall, with a few hundred visiting each experience. Not every visitor at an experience will engage or take handouts. Some adults come to watch the children.

Your exhibit will need a hook and an experience. For your hook, think of what will pique learners’ interest, including things that move, things that make sound, or intriguing questions. After the interest is piqued, then provide the experience that teaches a science concept or skill.

Check the exhibitor application for information about workshops for exhibitors.

Be sure your exhibit is appropriate for children of all ages. Some very young children attend, so set fragile objects out of reach. Think about how your message will be different for a 4-year-old and a 14-year-old.

Prepare a handout that can be distributed to educators or learners who want to do more. Also, browse howtosmile.org. Before the festival day, let your community know you'll be there by using the #VTSciFest hashtag and linking to the Virginia Tech Science Festival Facebook page in your social media networks.

Please don’t bring a poster from an academic conference. Your audience is not an academic audience, and they are unlikely to be intrigued. If you have a visual learning aid, you can hold it while you are referring to it or find a different way to send your message. Most science festival locations do not have a way to hang posters.

Maybe. Let's talk. Contact Phyllis Newbill at ceni@vt.edu.

Maybe. Power availability depends on the location of your exhibit. If your exhibit can't work without power or wifi, be sure to note that on your application. There are also spaces that have power nearby for recharging, but not at the site.

Maybe. If your lab or museum is within the festival footprint (Moss, Newman, or Torgersen), that will work fine. We’ve learned from experience that people do not typically leave the festival area to see other things. If your lab will host an open house some other time following the festival, feel free to advertise for that event at the festival.

Yes! For the Roanoke STEAM event, contact Don Pizzullo. For Hokie BugFest, contact Dana Beegle. There are many other outreach events throughout the year at Virginia Tech and at the Science Museum of Western Virginia. Watch your inbox for more opportunities. Contact Phyllis Newbill at ceni@vt.edu if you have specific outreach needs.

Prepare an inspiring, kid-friendly, five-minute, hands-on experience for children that can be repeated easily. The experience should fit on a tabletop or a 10’ x 10’ floor space.

You’ll need to have everything set by 10:00 AM on Saturday, November 12, so you should arrive with enough time to set up. The building will open for exhibitors at 8:00 AM.

The festival is open to the public from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. We recommend that you work with a team to manage shifts at your table.

The Virginia Tech Science Festival is a free choice event, so learners can stay as long or as short as they’d like. Most learners do not stay more than three or four minutes, so your experience should be a short one. Be prepared for the learner who falls in love with your topic. That kid might stick around all day.

Sure. If you’ll be giving the learners something to take home, be sure there is a way for them to put their name on it. It should also not be breakable or hazardous.

No, not at all.

Contact Phyllis Newbill at ceni@vt.edu.

Exhibitor timeline

  • August 31 Applications open
  • September 21 4:00 Designing an outreach experience workshop and reception
  • September 30 Applications close
  • October 5 4:00 Working with learners with autism workshop and reception
  • October 26 4:00 Communicating with children workshop and reception
  • November 12 Virginia Tech Science Festival