Markerspace open house invites students to explore campus resources

Although many of Sonoma State University’s clubs and extracurricular activities are well-known among students, many hidden gems, including the library’s very own Makerspace, gather students for a fun and creative pastime. The Sonoma State Makerspace invites students and families to learn more at their open house on Sat., Oct. 12, from 1 p.m.- 2 p.m., located on the second floor of the Schulz Library. Registration for this event is available online.

Jonathan Smith, the Director of Library Technology & the interim Access Services Manager, runs the Makerspace. 

“The open house is a drop-in for a tour of the space, a chance to explore our offerings, and an activity where you can make something and take it with you. This is a good opportunity for students to show their visiting family the library, and to do something fun in the Makerspace. Dr. Anamary Lead and Catherine Fonseca will be leading the open house on Saturday,” Smith said. 

Sonoma State’s Makerspace offers various resources, giving students the opportunity to dig deeper into a sense of creativity and innovation. Open Mon.-Thurs. 12 p.m.-8 p.m. and Fri. 12 p.m.-5 p.m., Sonoma State students, faculty, and staff are welcome to play around and experiment with virtual reality, 3D printing, 3D scanning, digital embroidery, laser cutting, engraving, electronics, robotics, sewing, arts & crafts, and many more. 

It is absolutely free of cost to use any available equipment. Workshops are also free, in case students are interested in more of a personalized and detailed explanation of how it is run. 

Smith wants students to know that material in the workspace is free to use but on occasion some must be purchased.

This space encourages folks to explore various things. All disciplines and skill sets can experience new technologies through workshops, experimentation, and free-play. By providing the tools and ingredients we hope to encourage creativity and inquiry, and to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration,” said Smith.

Austin Salois, a senior Electrical Engineering major, spends a decent amount of time in the Makerspace. Not only does he work and focus on projects in the space, but he is also a student technician. Student technicians are there to assist guests with

“I enjoy the Makerspace because it allows access to machines and equipment that I normally would never have access to. Having lots of money is not normally a trait of college students, so having a space where I can use this type of equipment to work on projects and prototypes without having to provide the overhead cost of the machines is amazing,” said Salois.

“The student techs in the Makerspace are happy to help with the use of equipment and aid in brainstorming the best way to go about doing a project,” said Salois. Students do not need to know how to use equipment. Everyone should come in expecting to learn and enjoy themselves while doing so.

With younger generations finding themselves more engrossed in technology, virtual reality gyms are becoming increasingly popular among young adults. Finding a virtual reality gym throughout Sonoma County that is cost efficient and local is quite difficult. Knowing that the Makerspace offers this activity in an easy, free, and accessible way is relieving to students. 

“Sophomore year, I had to play a game of virtual reality for a Philosophy class of mine. I had never done it before because every VR gym was so expensive, but started doing it more regularly once I learned it was offered at the Makerspace,” said senior Philosophy major, Michael Fahey. “When I arrived, the student tech was extremely helpful and guided me through the entire thing,” said Fahey.

John Guice, Sonoma State 2018 graduate and former student technician at the Makerspace, speaks about his love and passion for the facility.

 “The tools in there are incredibly empowering even when you learn just a small amount on how to use them. It levels the playing field for the little guy who has an idea, but not a lot of resources,” said Guice. “The reason I’m starting my own business right now is because of the Makerspace. The fact that schools are starting to adopt them is amazing, especially since students from various disciplines are using it, which in turn is going to lead to innovative ideas and solutions to things.”

If Seawolves are interested in learning a bit more about all that the Makerspace has to offer, they are encouraged to register online for the Makerspace open house. To do this, visit the Sonoma State website.