This weekend, Students’ Council reached consensus on the Facilities Fund, a $25,000 stipend granted by the Facilities department at the college to improve a student space on campus. This year the fund will be split among three submitted proposals presented by 1) the college’s robotic group, Haverford Robotics, 2) Rachael Garnick and 3) the Residential Life Committee. These additions to the campus include a revamp of the Makerspace on campus (currently housed in E110 of the KINSC), the addition of picnic tables around campus (locations TBD), and adding additional bike racks.
The first funded proposal, a revamping of the Makerspace, was granted $11,000. The funds allotted will allow Haverford Robotics to purchase an additional 3D printer, a couple more computers, and other tools and equipment ranging from soldering irons to miscellaneous hand tools.
The proposal, as written by Haverford Robotics, was submitted with the intention of improving three components of the current Makerspace: material, social, and communal. The intention is for the two less concrete aspects, social and communal, to improve following the addition of increased workstations and improved equipment in the space. The communal component appears the most promising in the near future, as the application notes that, “professors (such as Josh Moses) are planning to offer courses that invite the ‘Maker Movement’ to campus.”
At it’s core, the goal of the current users of the Makerspace and of Haverford Robotics’ members is to ensure that the remodeled space will become, “a hub of creativity on campus; most importantly, the Makerspace will become an inviting workplace and showcase of ideas for students across all domains of the Liberal Arts.”
The second funded proposal, submitted by Rachael Garnick ’17, was granted $8,000. The proposal initially requested more Adirondack chairs, picnic tables, and hammocks, but was eventually slimmed down to just include picnic tables around campus. The aim of the project was to improve the very few areas that currently exist on campus to do work outside, especially in the early months of the school year and in the spring.
Although the final locations have not been decided for the picnic tables, the Berm outside of Tritton and Kim and Leeds Green are tentative spots. These tables will hopefully become their own hubs of productivity and socialization, as it has been pitched that several of the umbrellas will be solar powered, giving students the opportunity to charge their devices outside for marathon study sessions.
The final funded proposal, submitted by the Residential Life Committee and presented by Sam Hersch ’15, was granted $6,000. The money will be spent towards finding spaces on campus where bicycle racks frequently overflow with bikes. The Committee expressed that since 2008, Haverford students have been complaining about the lack of bike rack space, especially the lack of covered bike rack space in an environment that consistently gets a considerable amount of snow and rain. While it is unclear where the bike racks will end up on campus, it is assumed that the amount granted will be enough to place several additional racks.
Although the improvements to the maker space seem in line with the goals of the fund, I’d be interested in hearing the rationale behind making an $11,000 investment in a space that, to my understanding, will be replaced within two years by a new state of the art hacker-maker lab in the multi-million dollar conversion of Ryan Gym to VCAM. I agree with the principles outlined in the article of improvements to the material, social, and communal components of the space, but it seems like the Robotics Club is getting quite a generous investment from the school anyway. Will this new equipment be obsolete in the new space? Are any improvements going into the physical space within the INSC that will just need to be renovated when(if?) the lab is moved to VCAM? I don’t doubt that SC discussed this issue but I’m interested in hearing more about this aspect of the decision.