by Ione Dellos
The Makerspace has come a long way, starting out as a humble pop-up. It now has a dedicated room in the library, and offers expanded services so students can amplify their creativity. It’s an important space for students to create and design, where they are able to explore fabrication. The space itself also offers many wonderful hands-on activities, such as the collage station, where students can make multi-media collages from all sorts of different materials, the vinyl cutting station, or the augmented reality sandbox, where students can stick their hands in the sand.
Cyril Oberlander may be the University Library Dean on paper, but in person, he is a very vocal supporter of Makerspace. Much like a pot of pasta you turned up too high and then left on the stove, he is bubbling over with enthusiasm for the Makerspace, and he gleefully talks about all the programs that the Makerspace offers for students.
“We really want to create a space for what people are interested in!” Oberlander said. “We’re going to roll out the vinyl cutter this semester, so you can do paper crafts or do vinyl for stickers or ironing. We have a guitar you can check out, and we have some other audio equipment that you can take home.”
You can see the sparkle in his eyes as he talks, and he looks proudly around the Makerspace as he shows the crown jewels of the room. There is a beautifully shiny yellow electric guitar, a sewing machine surrounded by associated fabric squares, an audio workstation complete with a studio microphone and headphones, and two brand new 3-D printers that members of the Makerspace assembled themselves. While set-up of the printers was “pretty easy,” and only took an hour, the real beast was getting them to work as intended.
“They were pretty difficult to calibrate and to get working,” Oberlander said.
There were some initial anxieties about a lack of funding for the program, but in true Makerspace spirit, they built out and shaped funding around actual use. Oberlander does not feel daunted by their request for funding being denied, and expects that the Makerspace will get more funding in the future.
“We have gotten funding in the past, and so we expect that we will get funding again,” Oberlander said.
Jonathan Pena Centes, head audio expert at the Makerspace, personally appreciates the equipment they have available to check out. Growing up, he didn’t have access to a lot of the resources now found in the Makerspace, and that’s why this function is so important to him.
“A lot of students don’t know about this resource,” Pena Centes said. “It’s a great resource for students who don’t have access to the original materials.”
The Makerspace’s hours are 1-7 pm, Tuesday through Friday, although hours are subject to change with their student staff working their schedules out around fall classes. It is located on the second floor of the school library, right by the exit of the stairs that lead up from the Library Café.