Maker Fair returns to OSU

Oregon State University will host the third annual Maker Fair Friday and Saturday in the Memorial Union Ballroom, Learning Innovation Center (LInC) and the SEC Plaza.

The Maker Fair is a free, independently organized event that, put on by an initiative called the CO. that looks to bring together the Corvallis community to promote a new transformative learning experience that is open to the public.

The theme of the event is STEM to STEAM, which looks to raise awareness of the importance of the arts in education according to Raymond Malewitz, the academic coordinator for the CO maker group and assistant professor of English.

“The dominant acronym that we hear in learning is ‘STEM’ (Science, technology, engineering and math),” said Malewitz. “Over the last few years it has gained an ‘A’ from the arts and we think it is important to see the role the arts play at every level of education.”

The event spans for two days on April 8 to April 9 and is made up of three different parts, including a symposium of distinguished speakers, a reception and a makers fair that are all open to the public according to Malewitz .

The symposium will take place on Friday in LInC Room 100 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will consist of a panel of six speakers, including Congresswomen Suzanne Bonamici, that will discuss the theme of “STEM to STEAM”

“We want to put together the first symposium to get people talking about the making community,” Malewitz said. “This is a theme that can bring some very diverse speakers together and have them implement this STEAM idea”

Following the symposium there will be a reception to encourage students to create connections outside of their majors or disciplines according to Malewitz .

“There will be a reception after the symposium to meet the speakers,” Malewitz said. “This is a rare opportunity to get to talk to someone outside of your own discipline and form more of a community at OSU.”

The Maker Fair will take place Saturday and provides hands-on learning experiences to visitors and offers them a chance to explore different technologies, sciences, arts and crafts. The Maker Fair is looking to incorporate the whole Corvallis community according to Malewitz.

“Our goal is to get local community members involved,” said Malewitz “This includes OSU faculty and students, Western Oregon University, science, engineering and art teachers at k-12 public schools in the region, as well as members of the local science and art community”

Eric Hinsch, a Ph.D student and the volunteer coordinator of the event, explained the fair is intended to bring together makers throughout the community.

“The Maker Fair itself is a gathering of makers,” Hinsch said. “These are people who make things with their hands, from technology to crafts to music, and gives them a way to get together to show what they do and how fun it is to make it so visitors can learn something from them.”

Hinsch also spoke to the overall goal of the Makers Fair.

“We are hoping that it will give more visibility to the maker community,” Hinsch said. “Our long term goal is to have a maker space-a place people can go to make things. As we’ve been talking to administration and faculty, they are very interested in being a maker school, but no one has taken the innovative to go forward with this. We want to give this innovative some momentum.”

The event consists of makers including HP, local businesses, and non-profits, art activities including gunpowder, spoken word poetry, computer design, and much more according to Malewitz.

Charles Robinson, a Coordinator for the College of Liberal Arts and a member of the CO said the event is meant to open people up to new experiences as well.

“This is an opportunity to have hand on experience and a way to approach something that a person has never done before, Robison said.” “Some people may not have taken their own words and made a publication out of them or used a 3-D printer and this event gives them the chance to try new things and it becomes a trans formative learning experience for them.”

Hinsch encouraged the community to participate in the two day event.

“Come out and have fun” Hinch said. “Come learn, connect, and play!”

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