Makerspace Launches with Post-it Notes, Innovation and Pizza

Scrawling ideas on colorful Post-it notes, student attendees of the Makerspace’s grand opening brainstormed names for this new area on Wednesday night. Names such as the “OWHL Nest,” “Casa de Creation” and “Open Innovation Lab (OIL)” proved to be the most popular.

Michael Barker, Director of Academy Research, Information and Library Services, Caroline Nolan, Director of the Tang Institute, Eric Roland, the Tang Institute Precourt Director for Partnerships, Alex Davenport ’17 and John Koobatian ’17, Co-Presidents of Makers Club and Erin McCloskey, Associate Director of Educational Initiatives, introduced the new Makerspace.

“What we think is really valuable about this space is that there are so many aspects of what it means to be a maker. Pretty much everyone has something that they can contribute to make,” said McCloskey.

Students ate pizza while exploring the new additions to the space, which included 3-D printers, laser and vinyl cutters, a dry-erase wall and spinning chairs. The event introduced students to clubs such as Blueprint, Launchpad and Makers Club, all of which will be active users of the Makerspace.

Davenport said, “We have a lot more resources and a space where we can really bring our club to life. Before, we were just a few people in a classroom in Gelb. We didn’t really have a big following… I think now people know that they have the tools to really flesh out their ideas and bring the ideas to life.”

Although the Makerspace will be used by many science and technology clubs, students are encouraged to visit and get to know both the new space and its tools.

Cindy Espinosa ’18 said, “I’m really into innovation. I think providing a space like this to kids will really open the door to new ideas. Honestly, even if you’re just interested, I think it’s a really cool learning space.”

The Makers Club will soon be implementing a queue system for the 3-D printer, that will allow multiple projects to be sent to the printer at once and then executed in their order of arrival. The queue system would be in the form of a website similar to that of Andover’s wireless printing initiative, Print On. The space will host events such as a Makers Club Hack-A-Thon, as well as lessons in ideation to help students use the new technology, despite possible intimidation they might feel if they are new to such projects.

Barker said, “It’s pretty user friendly. Andover students have proven that they can learn things pretty quickly but we also have a whole club, as well as the techmasters club, dedicated to helping kids learn… If kids want to learn how to use a 3-D printer and they don’t know how, they should just come here and there will be someone to help them figure it out.”

As the event drew to a close, Barker handed out memo books to attendees, encouraging students to brainstorm ideas that could benefit the Andover community. “What would you do if you could do something tomorrow?” said Barker. “What do you want to do to make our community better?”

The opening took place in the basement of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library on Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.