Students, faculty and community members gathered together in Ingalls Mall to watch HAILstorm! on Friday night, the 3-D light show that paid tribute to the University of Michigan’s 200 year legacy. The show was projected on the outside of the Rackham Building, and was deemed the pinnacle of the University of Michigan Bicentennial Celebrations. It was produced by the Bicentennial Office, Bluewater Technologies and Maxin10sity, and featured a wide variety of high-tech graphics and animation. Along with the show, there was music, food and festivities for spectators to enjoy.
Gary Krenz, executive director of the University of Michigan Bicentennial, explained the goal of HAILstorm! was to take people through the history of the University with an exciting presentation.
“It’s a 3-D projection mapping light show on the façade of Rackham,” Krenz said. “It’s going to incorporate all kinds of stuff from the history, present and future of U of M-lots of lights, lots of motion, a huge amount of energy. People are really going to enjoy it.”
Krenz also reflected on the Bicentennial celebrations as a whole. He discussed how even though the University enjoys showcasing all the good it has accomplished over the last 200 years, it’s also important to come together as a community to understand the areas where the institution fell short.
“When you reach an anniversary like this, you really can pull the whole community together to reflect,” Krenz said. “Part of this is to celebrate how great we are, but part of it is also to think about where we’ve made some mistakes, and how do we think about that as we go forward.”
Rackham student Kaitlyn Portal echoed Krenz’s statement about the value of bringing the community together. She also pointed out recent racist incidents on campus show the University still has areas it needs to improve on.
“I like the way that they focused on bringing the U of M community together, and identified ways that we can improve ourselves-especially recently with the racial events on campus,” Portal said. “I think the campus still has issues it needs to work on. But, I think events like tonight’s really show us how we come together as a community.”
Along with areas for improvement, LSA senior Aiya Saad was very impressed with the Bicentennial showcase of new technology the University is developing. Saad explained she looks forward to seeing the diverse range of innovations University students and faculty create.
“I hope Michigan keeps doing what they’re doing. I’ve seen a lot of what people have been working on in different areas of campus, and I was so amazed. I hope to see more of that going forward,” Saad said.
Krenz hopes the Bicentennial celebrations allowed people to reflect on the University’s legacy, understand the challenges it has faced and obtain a stronger historical awareness going forward.