The Makerspace is one of the most popular destinations for students to visit on the California State University, Monterey Bay campus, yet each year they face funding challenges. Last semester, almost 20% of the student population visited the Makerspace to take a breather and let their creative juices flow.
Often used to support other organizations and departments on campus with resources and events, Makerspace still isn’t receiving any benefits from the university outside of the library. According to the Makerspace Director Rachel Hester, a large majority of funds come from outside sponsors.
“We’re constantly finding new funding sources and we’ve graciously been funded by Chevron,” said Hester. “I apply every year to different grants that are internally offered.”
While it’s open to all students, the Makerspace accelerates the professional efforts of employees, as “they can build their skills and resumes with what they are interested in. They have unique skill sets which we can use to cater to their educational goals,” according to Hester.
She spends her time working immersed in the Makerspace, but is primarily responsible for finding funds. Her time spent doing so could be used to interact with students and improve resources within the facility.
The Makerspace room was once used as a storage facility, but is now home to countless arts and crafts supplies, laser cutters, 3D printers and computers with creative software. An abundance of equipment was donated by the Monterey County Office of Education at no cost to the university.
Second-year Student Assistant Albert Hejmadi applied at the Makerspace last spring and hasn’t looked back since.
“It doesn’t even feel like work to be honest. Sometimes I forget to clock out because I’m so busy making crafts or helping someone make crafts.” He described the work environment as welcoming and safe. “It’s unlike any other job I’ve had. It’s a grounding, fun and healing experience for me.”
Those who aren’t affiliated with the Makerspace have the opportunity for growth.
“We’re happy to provide custom guidance,” said Hester. “We’re even working on creating a Canvas course with modules about all the general access tools and supplies that you’ll always have access to here.”
Unfortunately, student employees and visitors are constantly in the dark about the future of the Makerspace. It was never approved permanently and while they receive funds from the Department of Sciences (who they share resources with) and the library, its continuity is debated each semester.
Hester says she is unable to give a timeline for the permanent budget application because administration is modifying the process for doing so. She plans on submitting a request once the application is available.
Associated Students has proposed increasing its fee to further support activities and resources on campus, but the Makerspace will not be included in the sharing of these funds because it is not considered a recognized department, program, or Student Organization. Categorizing it as such could guarantee funding.
The Makerspace is an investment in students’ futures and well beings. Students are encouraged to visit often as attendance is kept to prove that the space is being used effectively, which has kept its doors open thus far.