Students Developing Sustainability Makerspace through SIA Foundation Grant

Tuesday, February 06, 2018
Plants growing in a greenhouse

Students will turn an existing campus garden into a sustainability makerspace, with an outdoor classroom, through support from the Subaru of Indiana-based SIA Foundation.

When the spring planting season arrives, Rose-Hulman students will begin developing an existing campus garden into a sustainability makerspace, with an outdoor classroom, through support from the Subaru of Indiana-based SIA Foundation.

The makerspace will provide Rose-Hulman students, local K-12 educators and students, and area gardening clubs with opportunities to apply sustainability practices. It also will enhance learning about sustainability concepts.

This initiative is being led by Rose-Hulman’s HERE program, a living-learning experience for a select group of first-year students, from a variety of academic majors. These students have an interest in sustainability, humanitarian engineering, or the impacts engineers and scientists have on the world.

“Our new outdoor makerspace will be a living, growing educational environment that will allow students and community groups to see sustainability in practice. There’s unlimited potential for this campus space,” says HERE program director Jennifer Mueller Price, associate professor of civil and environment engineering.

The SIA Foundation provides grants twice a year to support community-based arts and culture, health and wellness, or education programs throughout Indiana. The foundation awarded $9,998 for the Rose-Hulman project.

When completed, the sustainability makerspace will feature renewable energy resources, according to Mueller Price. A solar-powered water-pumping system from a nearby pond will enhance growing in the 14 raised planting beds in the garden. A solar-powered ventilation system will improve growing conditions inside a nearby greenhouse, where seeding plots will mature throughout the winter for planting by Garden Club members in the late spring. Vegetables from the garden have been used by students and the campus’ food service provider, Bon Appetit.

Mueller Price points out that the new outdoor classroom will provide a living-learning laboratory for other activities and courses across campus. A new design studio educational environment will allow students to work on real-world sustainable projects, providing the potential for mechanical and electrical engineering students to apply techniques in renewable energy and appropriate technologies. Also, biology and civil and environment engineering courses will have another campus laboratory for research and classroom projects.

At the same time, the outdoor classroom could provide space for Rose-Hulman to host sustainability and environmental education projects for area students in kindergarten through the 12th grade. It also may help expand the HERE program’s Ryves Up! after-school project at Terre Haute’s Franklin Elementary School. The facility also could be used for projects by high school students interested in learning more about science, technology, engineering and mathematics through Rose-Hulman’s summer Operation Catapult program.

Aspects of the sustainability makerspace are currently being designed by HERE students and faculty, while administrators and staff from the Office of Facilities Operations will conduct site preparation and construct all aspects of the project.

Launch Root Quad