Students use the new Makerspace

Hartwick College Unveils Makerspace

October 6, 2017

This weekend, Hartwick College will unveil its first Makerspace, a collaborative work center for students and faculty to brainstorm, create, learn, and develop ideas. Makerspaces are a growing movement in higher education, but most often found on technology-focused campuses. Hartwick is leading the movement of liberal arts colleges incorporating Makerspaces.

“I was encouraged two years ago by Hartwick Trustee Keith Granet to visit the Makerspace at the Stanford University [design school],” said Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich. “I knew immediately that what I saw there – an open and inviting space with appointments that would encourage collaboration and creativity – would be a perfect complement to the innovative thinking that we nurture and encourage at Hartwick.

“We then supported Hartwick students’ participation in the University Innovation Fellows (UIF) program at Stanford, and they came back filled with ideas about how we could make this space relevant and inspiring,” she said. “They told us what they needed in the space and we created it for them – this space will benefit our entire community.”

“I often describe the model and concept as a Montessori-type space for young adults,” said Assistant Professor of Business Administration Pauline Stamp, who led four students on the UIF program last summer. “It’s a concept that is becoming much more common in the workplace, and Hartwick students now have an opportunity to experience controlled chaos and work with faculty on how to produce and succeed in this type of environment.

“As the Fellows advisor, I was able to watch first-hand how collective energy inspires creativity in an open work space,” she added.

Stephanie Sacco ’18 was one of the students on the UIF program, along with Jackie Davis ’17, Christine Hughes ’17, and Kelly Sprague ’17.

“We were considered the leader of the 58 schools in the program for promoting innovation and entrepreneurship on liberal arts campuses,” Sacco said.

Hartwick was one of only three liberal arts schools in attendance, Stamp said.

During the 2016-17 academic year, the Hartwick administration considered and approved the students’ request. A space was identified and work to create the Makerspace began right after graduation and continued throughout the summer.

The Hartwick Makerspace is part of the College’s new Center for Collaboration and Innovation which will include other programming spaces such as the e(ntrepreneurship)-Hub.

The space currently includes simple materials like Playdough, Legos, rubber bands, aluminum foil, and popsicle sticks, meant to encourage students to “build” their ideas. The walls are lined with multiple glass boards to write on, and a corkboard to post ideas. Stools and tall tables help promote collaboration, encouraging people to move around the space and join different groups. A large flat-screen television with HDMI capability has been installed in the nook with a couch, so programming like TED Talks and presentations can be shown continuously in the space.

Additional equipment is being considered, such as new tables with whiteboard tops and rollers for ease of movement, and comfortable seating to enhance creativity.

“The emergence of a Makerspace coincides with the selection of ‘Innovation’ as the College’s Campus Theme for this academic year and next, and its location within the Stevens-German Library – at the very center of campus – symbolizes its centrality to furthering Hartwick’s liberal arts mission,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael G. Tannenbaum.

He also noted how the Makerspace is part of the College’s overall strategy of providing future-focused curriculum.

“Faculty plan to incorporate use of the Makerspace and ‘design thinking’ into their classes, and this new facility provides opportunities for multiple classes from multiple disciplines to come together to explore among the borders of two or more disciplines, where much of today’s most exciting learning occurs,” he said.

The public will get its first glimpse of the space on Saturday during campus tours on True Blue Weekend, the College’s annual celebration when alumni, reunion classes, families, and friends come to campus for a wide array of activities.

“What better space to create at a liberal arts college where making a web of connections is what we do every day?” said Drugovich. “I am very excited about this project.”

For more information on the Hartwick College Makerspace, contact Stamp at or (607) 431-4285.