More than 400 students will gather at Building C on Mountaintop campus May 3 with one thing in common: the completion of substantial project work over the past semester or longer.
Hosted by the Office of Creative Inquiry, the first-ever Lehigh Expo will showcase the work of students in almost every discipline, ranging from materials engineering and technical entrepreneurship to architecture and music composition.
Bill Whitney, the administrative director of the Office of Creative Inquiry, said faculty members of every discipline were encouraged to invite students to present significant projects at the event, whether that be in-class group projects or a faculty-mentored passion project.
So far, no faculty-proposed student or team participation has been denied from presenting at the event.
“(The teams) are proud of what they’ve done — this is their blood, sweat and tears,” said Khanjan Mehta, the vice provost for creative inquiry. “Most of these teams have been working on their projects for at least a semester, and some much longer than that.”
The expo will sort showcased projects by discipline: engineering, humanities, social sciences and more. Mehta said the event will include atypical disciplines for a project exposition, such as music and English, among other humanities.
Mehta said presenting students and teams have flexibility in the medium of their presentations to accommodate the particularities of their discipline.
“We want to create this mosaic of all the different kinds of things that happen across the university,” Mehta said. “And then it will be an opportunity to cross-pollinate by saying ‘Here’s X and Y, and maybe there’s a way we can synergize them into working together.”
Although other departments host their own exposition events, Mehta and Whitney said the Lehigh Expo stands separately and should not take away from other planned events.
They hope the event will draw 1,000 to 1,500 attendees and become an annual occurrence. Aside from the immediate Lehigh community, they plan to invite city officials, corporate representatives, middle and high schools, and members of the local Bethlehem community.
“We don’t want to replace any program-specific expos, but rather the idea is to bring everybody together, the entire community, and celebrate and showcase what’s happening,” Mehta said.
Mehta believes the event will showcase future initiatives involving interdisciplinary work where cultures and concepts can come together.
He anticipates the projects will go beyond the walls of the classroom.
Sage Herrick, ‘20, is on a project team that is developing a business and dissemination model for Ukweli, a urinary tract infection-screening test strip targeted for the developing world. The team will present at the expo.
“An integral aspect of any project is to hear outside opinions and get out of our team’s echochamber every once in a while to keep ideas fresh,” Herrick said. “I’m nervous about the reception of our project, but it will be a learning experience.”