The lot of us who weren't satisfied with any of the ideas at the end got together into a smaller group to brainstorm further. As it happened, one of the ideas to come up in brainstorming was to build a ferry and set up a ferry service for students to get across the ODK fountain on McKeldin Mall, because the alternative to journey all the way around the fountain is way too exhausting. I mean, you've got to like walk an extra fifty feet or something. It's outrageous.
That idea stuck with me. I expressed my interest, and Shariq, one of the leaders of the group, was excited to help me out and get the project going. Shariq was a lot of help in the beginning getting ideas going and getting me started.
I drew this plan up that night as we were discussing the project.
Shariq also reffered me to the Startup Shell, a coworking space in which students get stuff done, as a venue that I could use to put together the ferry. I felt extremely welcomed by all the wonderful people there, and I was quickly able to make myself at home. They allowed me to use their power tools, and even took me to Home Depot twice to get hardware and paint. I owe it to them to allow me to do this.
Other than most of the hardware, the paint, and the pulleys and belt, all the materials were found in dumpsters. Most of the wood was found as palettes in dumpsters. The tubing for the handle and axle for the paddles was an electrical conduit tube, also being thrown out. I also found several sheets of 3 inch thick pink insulation foamboard, which a construction worker allowed me to take, "as long as you don't get me in trouble." I stacked it underneath of the boat three sheets thick for the necessary buoyancy.
More plans, and some necessitated measurements.
Fortunately, one blog, Hidden UMD, got to the ferry before Facilities Management did. They visited the ferry at dawn and had a post up, including a video, before the afternoon.
The blog had a total of 1,500 page views before that day. In that single day, the blog got an additional 19,000+ visits, and the post got over 3,000 Facebook likes. News of the ferry got around, and almost nobody knew who was responsible. That made me happy, in a mischievous way.