MIT Students Created a Small-Scale Roller Coaster for a Campus Bash

Leave it to the smart kids to figure out how to legally have the most fun ever.

Becoming a college freshman is a rite of passage. And when you attend MIT, that rite comes with a host of awesome perks—including riding a student-made roller coaster in the middle of school property.

Last weekend, as part of the annual East Campus Rush celebrations, incoming students were welcomed to their new home for the next fours years by a three-story fort, a game of 3D Twister, and a 130-foot-long wooden carnival ride stamped with the seal of approval from Cambridge city officials.

“Everything felt super safe and awesome,” said MIT student Rachel Davis, who posted photos and the above video of people taking rides on the roller coaster to the school’s admissions blog.

Image via Rachel Davis

Image via Rachel Davis

Before the students set their project in motion, the school and city required they submit plans for their design to the Inspectional Services Department with a letter of recommendation from a certified engineering firm.

According to a spokesperson from Cambridge’s ISD offices, after an engineer gives plans to the city with their approval, structures are assumed to be in compliance with the law.

Richard Henige, vice president of the Boston-based firm LeMessurier, said his company did the honors this year and reviewed the drawings put together by MIT students building the roller coaster, before making some small adjustments and ultimately passing on the paperwork to the proper city department.

“Students themselves developed the sketches and calculations, and at MIT’s request we reviewed the sketches and made some comments to them. We then submitted a letter to the city saying that the plans would conform to the Massachusetts State Building Code,” said Henige. “We did this last summer as well. Last year the city insisted students have certified professional engineers review designs and sign off on them.”

Based on the information forwarded by the engineers, the city deemed it a safe structure for campus use, and gave students the green light to begin building and have some fun.

“I’m so grateful to be here at MIT and surrounded by such amazing people who can pull off such awesome projects,” said Davis of the successful weekend and construction of the roller coaster. “I’m happy that I can call this place my home.”