The Makerspace regularly has a line out the door and is packed with students eager to express their creativity. While it’s one of the most popular resources on campus, it struggles to keep up with demand due to a lack of funding.
Since it received half of the funding it requested for this year, the Makerspace hours have been cut in half, and will now be open from 12-4 p.m. daily.
The Makerspace is easily one of the busiest spots on campus with over 200 visitors every week since the start of the semester. The Makerspace Coordinator, Rachell Hester, spends a significant chunk of her time raising “soft funds,” which are the grants and donations that keep the Makerspace running.
Hester’s priority is making sure that student assistants get paid because they keep the doors open and the Makerspace running. “If they can’t get paid, I can’t be open. I completely rely on engagement.”
If the Makerspace had more funding, “I would absolutely be devoting more time to collaborations across the departments, across campus, and I would have more time to run the Makerspace,” said Hester. The library provides funds for some necessities, such as electricity, but other things that are required for operation such as supplies and funding for student assistants come entirely out of soft funds.
“Worrying about funding is the problem, we shouldn’t worry about funding. My job is to make the space welcoming and friendly and to be here for students. I do that to the best of my ability as is and I’ll keep applying for funds,” Hester added.
While students who rely on the Makerspace to complete school and personal projects aren’t able to make use of it as frequently as in the past, student assistants are also struggling to meet their own needs because of shortened hours.
Third-year Student Assistant Albert Hejmadi has been working at the Makerspace since his first year on campus. “We have way fewer hours which isn’t great, especially if we depend on that money to support ourselves.”
Hejmadi mentioned that visitors have also been inconvenienced. “It’s not great for the people who come to the Makerspace because they have a lot less time, and people who come in between classes aren’t able to come as often. That’s definitely happened to a few of my friends.”
Regardless of the funding gaps, Makerspace workers are dedicated to keeping it available as a resource to students and organizations on campus. The best way students can show their support is to “come and use the Makerspace!” according to Hester. The more students who check-in and use supplies, the more supplies can be requested from the university.
Engagement shows that the Makerspace is a staple in the California State University, Monterey Bay community. Hester mentioned that “any club, group, class, teacher or anybody who wants to do a team building workshop, we’re happy to host and provide the materials and tools to get you in here.”