In our third year of collaboration, Vertiv, a global leader in critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions, joined forces with the Columbus Crew, the city's beloved major league Soccer team, to host a memorable STEM Day at Lower.com Field for a group of local elementary through high school students. Members of Boys and Girls Clubs in the central Columbus region, could delve into the world of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), relative to the Crew match day digital experience and how it is supported by data center technology. Throughout the various fun and educational stations, these children were able to make the connection between sports, science, data centers, and entertainment.
A Day of Exploration:
The sunlit morning at Lower.com Field began with an air of anticipation as eager children from the Boys and Girls Club gathered for what promised to be an unforgettable experience. STEM Day kicked off with a welcome greeting from Vertiv’s Chief Innovation Officer, Greg Ratcliff, who shared meaningful anecdotes about his experience with STEM and how STEM concepts surround us every day, shaping the world we live in.
Vertiv’s Role in Supporting Lower.com Field:
Following the opening presentation, the children were taken on an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of the state-of-the-art Lower.com Field, the home of the Columbus Crew. Crew representatives and Vertiv experts guided the students through the stadium's infrastructure, with the Crew giving background on the impact of each area on the team, stadium and fans, and Vertiv explaining how its advanced products and solutions contribute to its smooth functioning.
Exploring the Critical Digital Infrastructure:
One stop of the tour took the children to Vertiv’s Customer Experience Center, which is a fully functioning data center located at the field level of Lower.com Field. The group was able to witness firsthand how Vertiv's UPS systems and cooling systems enable the stadium’s servers to run efficiently, providing 24/7 seamless connectivity, including during games and events. Ron Spangler, Senior Manager of Offering management and Joe Holmes, Manager of Inside Channel Sales explained how Vertiv backup power and cooling solutions work and provided some insights into how a love of STEM and other subjects can lead to careers in the data center industry.
The group also learned about the science that goes into keeping the field green and healthy, with an overview from the groundskeeper and exploration of the enormous grow lights that are used to provide the light needed to counteract the shade in the stadium, as well as keep the pitch heated during the cold winter months experienced in Columbus.
Other interactive STEM workshops led by Vertiv volunteers and Columbus Crew’s staff included the press level, where the group had the opportunity to speak through the stadium-wide PA system, as well as activate the goal lights. The Columbus Crew staff members provided key demonstrations about how and when these systems are used and on the Vertiv side, Technical Sales Engineer Jake Ehrman gave a comprehensive breakdown of how Vertiv supports these critical systems through KVM technology, while both Crew and Vertiv leaders gave tips on how hobbies, education and internships can help to provide access to jobs in AV and sports entertainment fields. Throughout STEM Day, regardless of the station, the voices of the children echoing across the stadium was truly impactful. It’s safe to say they thoroughly enjoyed this station!
A visit to the locker room was enriched with an interactive discussion about the importance of health and nutrition to keep the players performing at their best, while a visit to the pitch gave all of the students the opportunity to score on the Crew’s mascot, Crew Cat, as he defended the goal against their creative scoring efforts.
Fostering Dreams and Aspirations:
Philip Hardybala, Offering Manager of Product Development and Engineering, led the mobile ordering station alongside Crew staff, describing the impact STEM has had on their careers. In this station, the children selected snacks and shared what comes to mind when they hear the acronym STEM and how it impacts them daily. Some expressed their aspirations to explore careers in engineering, technology, and sports-related fields. The children left this station with newly discovered enthusiasm for STEM disciplines, in addition to understanding the Crew’s popular mobile ordering systems and how the data center supports the technology.
A Day To Remember:
As the event concluded, the impact of STEM Day at Lower.com Field became apparent. Following lunch, the group was excited to compete for prizes by answering questions about key learnings from the day.
Through this immersive experience, the children from the various Boys and Girls Clubs gained a deeper appreciation for STEM and witnessed firsthand how technology enhances the sports they love. We hope the event's positive impact will resonate with these young learners for years to come, igniting a passion for knowledge and innovation that will shape the world of tomorrow.
In our home base of central Ohio and all around the world, Vertiv supports the communities in which we operate with innovative volunteer and corporate philanthropy initiatives. Through both national and local partnerships, our company and our people provide support to those who need it most. Download our recently released ESG report for more information regarding Vertiv’s ESG initiatives.