Author: Steve Hunter, Mechatronics Department Chair Emeritus, Emeritus, and Team Leader for CCC Maker Sierra College Makerspaces
Sierra College held a Maker Night and Open house on May 4. Student makerspace leaders organized the event and planned projects that participants could make quickly, so they could finish several in one night. The goal was to provide attendees with a maker experience and get to know the community.
The event was promoted through classroom presentations by student maker ambassadors who also conducted a student survey about makerspaces. Flyers were distributed across campus and they were emailed out to faculty. Additional social media was used to promote the event.
Nearly 100 people came to the event, most from campus as well as some from the wider community. Attendees were welcomed, toured the space, enjoyed refreshments and then started making projects. They welded candle stick holders, made custom necklaces on the laser cutter, added art to a community art piece made of laser cut pieces, tried Virtual Reality, sewed pin cushions on multiple machines, checked out 3D printing and worked in the metal fabrication area.
The student maker area leaders observed that attendees really responded to customized making. For instance, in the laser cutting area, hearts were set up for people to add their names to them. Guests started asking if they could make something else.
Student, Heather Lee, who was leading the laser cutter area, quickly responded by giving them access to images that they could add to the wood. They were delighted to make something that meant something to them. She also created a mandala that guests could join in decorating a part to create a community art piece.
Some of the possible improvements the CCC maker team discussed included having a more noticeable sign where people sign in and an incentive to encourage signing in. It was suggested that we train more tour guides, and prepare them with engaging stories. Another idea was to capitalize on the interest in family programming that would appeal to students and faculty who are parents.