March 14 may seem like just an ordinary day but not at Illinois Institute of Technology. While there are no Hallmark cards to commemorate it, that date is Pi Day at IIT. Students from the Information Technology Management Organization (ITMO) used Pi Day as a cause for celebration with a “Raspberry Pi” that they ordered from Chicago-based electronics distributor Newark element14. Newark Element14 is not a bakery and Raspberry Pi is not an edible pie, but rather, a fully functional $35 single-board computer that is the latest “must-have” technology item.
The item is so hot that it can take weeks to get one. Thankfully, the folks at Newark element14 were kind enough to help expedite the order when they heard ITMO was having a Pi Day celebration and donated Raspberry Pi starter kits. Janice Fleisher and Ken Kaminski at Newark element14 felt the event was such a good idea that they agreed to come to IIT and help to demonstrate the product to IIT students. They also brought a few T-Shirts, mugs and accessories to give to students!
In keeping with the Pi Day theme, ITMO ordered several regular pies and a few pizza pies from a local pizzeria. (Thankfully, nobody had to use pi—3.14—to calculate the circumference or area of the circular pies., although several students knew pi to 10 digits and most remember the equation for both the circumference and area calculations.)
One of the more interesting activities was the raffle titled “Take a Pie, Get a Pie.” ITMO members offered a raffle for the serious Raspberry Pi enthusiasts. Anyone who wanted to enter their name in the raffle had to be willing to take a whip cream pie in the face to get a free Raspberry Pi. The candidate pool for this raffle was pretty sparse, however, IIT School of Applied Technology Dean C. Robert Carlson entered his name. Afterward, he confessed he was happy he did not have one of the winning numbers.
Students Adrian Cabrera, president of ITMO; Jason Choe, vice president; Bart Dworak, treasurer; Ian Sequeira, director of activities; Abdel Fane, secretary; and Victor Ramirez, member, coordinated the event. Cliff Ortmeyer, design engineer and Drew Fustini, software developer, both with Newark element14 served as presenters and led the demonstration using Google Hangouts and broadcasted live on YouTube.
Some interesting tidbits: Kaminski from Newark element14 has a son Nash who is a freshman in computer engineering at IIT and Fustini of Newark element14 took an IT certificate course in embedded systems from IIT’s professional learning programs. Newark element14 participated in Engineers Week at IIT Rice Campus and demonstrated the Raspberry Pi to attendees.