Union's culture of innovation will be on display at Maker Fest 2016

The event showcases the work of faculty, staff and students who are part of the maker movement.
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Union's culture of innovation will be on display at Maker Fest 2016


  • Diego Bazan '18 works on his drone project for the upcoming Maker Fest.Diego Bazan '18 works on his drone project for the upcoming Maker Fest.
  • Amanda Ervin, Union's Makerspace coordinator, assists Xavier Quinn '20 and Diego Bazan '18  in creating a musical tablecloth that will be on display at the Maker Fest.Amanda Ervin, Union's Makerspace coordinator, assists Xavier Quinn '20 and Diego Bazan '18 in creating a musical tablecloth that will be on display at the Maker Fest.

A musical tablecloth. A drone obstacle course. A hackathon.

All will be part of Maker Fest 2016 on Friday, Oct. 7, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Staged in a number of places across campus, the event showcases the work of faculty, staff and students, including artists, sculptors, writers, tech enthusiasts and others who are part of the maker movement.

“Making by its very nature highlights Union's strength in interdisciplinary approaches to solving problems,” said Amanda Ervin, who joined Union as its first Makerspace coordinator last fall.

“The Maker Fest is an opportunity to build bridges, collaborate and see what everyone else on campus is doing.”

Making encourages inventors, designers and tinkerers to use higher-order reasoning and problem-solving skills for individual and collaborative project-based learning. This is typically done in shared spaces using new technologies such as 3D printers, laser cutters and desktop machine tools.

As coordinator, Ervin oversees the Collaborative Design Studio, an interdisciplinary research Makerspace in the Wold Center. The mission is to foster and accelerate novel research by harnessing the power of rapid prototyping design and 3D printing.

Ervin manages Union MakerCorps, a group of students trained to run the equipment and assist campus researchers in their design tasks. And among other duties, she’s responsible for the laser cutter in Visual Arts 118 and a robust equipment library including small 3D printers, sewing machines and 3D laser scanners.

There have been efforts in the past to showcase the Maker culture on campus. But the Maker Fest is the first large-scale initiative. Ervin expects between 15 and 20 projects across a variety of disciplines to be on display.

Ervin gave a talk this summer at a White House summit hosted by the Office of Science and Technology Policy on integrating the maker culture into the humanities curriculum. In 2014, President Obama launched his Nation of Makers initiative.

Ervin was able to highlight Union’s maker activity to a national audience.

“The maker scene is thriving here,” said Ervin. “The Maker Fest will give people on campus an opportunity to see all the amazing projects being created every day.”

The Maker Fest is sponsored in part through “Our Shared Humanities,” a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to promote the integration of the arts and humanities.

The Maker Fest also includes live music and food.

For a schedule and information on how to register, click here.