At Oregon State University, “maker culture” is a part of our DNA. Throughout our history as a national leader in engineering, agricultural, and marine sciences and the pioneering leadership of our success as Oregon’s land grant institution, the faculty and students at OSU have embodied the spirit and the focus of a place with a purpose. Making occupies a central place, and always has, within our drive to fulfill this purpose: to create a positive difference in quality of life, natural resources, and economic prosperity throughout Oregon and beyond. Through discovery, innovation, applied learning, and an inclusive mix of ideas and people, we are meeting challenges, solving problems, and turning ideas into reality. Our land-grant mission empowers us to engage community-based issues and, in partnership with others, we make solutions. Making in all its forms fuels this enterprise, and infuses the way we go about being faculty, students, administrators, alumni, families, and community members at OSU.
We at OSU believe that maker culture is catalyzed by both innovative ideas and innovative spaces. As an active research university, our approach to making is driven largely by the creativity and passion of our faculty, students, and staff, who work both within existing and traditional academic units, offices, and initiatives, but who also seek creative, interdisciplinary opportunities that lie “between the cracks” and who forge new projects, programs, and educational experiences for out students and the people of Oregon. Our campus is brimming with maker activity, in the form of new and old spaces that have been designed or organized organically around the social, intellectual, and physical work of making.
As Oregon’s land grant institution and one of only 2 universities in the United States to also hold, air, sea and space grant designations, OSU applies the maker dynamic throughout the state, engaging traditional channels, like the Extension Service and 4-H, and creating new ones as well. More than 40 locations across our state house faculty, staff, laboratories and learning spaces.
Making directly serves the three signature areas of our university focus:
- Advancing the Science of Sustainable Earth Ecosystems
- Improving Human Health and Wellness
- Promoting Economic Growth and Social Progress
Making figures prominently across the OSU curricula - and has for decades. This activity is happening not only in traditional locations, like fabrication spaces and laboratories, but also in new hybrid course designs for the classroom, a variety of civic and community engagement, living-learning communities for our students, student group/club activity, and faculty and graduate student research.
Maker skills at OSU are supported at all levels of the university community. A sampling of these include:
Students drive much of the maker activity as OSU - as they should! OSU’s 3D Printing Club, Robotics Club, many engineering and computer science groups, Engineers Without Borders, the Food and Fermentation Science Club, the Montage art collective, the Music Production collective, the Solar Vehicle Team, and many more both contribute their energy and ideas to maker projects.
Makers at OSU have a broad range of facilities and tools at their disposal. OSU itself - both in its Corvallis campus location and its statewide network offers an array of workshops, labs, classrooms, and special events.
Formal and informal partnerships with local and statewide maker groups, including Benton County Library (Teen Maker Clubs), the Corvallis Area Makers group, and a broad network of makers throughout the Willamette Valley’s “Creative Corridor” running from Portland to Eugene. The maker community is itself a part of some of the maker programming we offer on campus.
OSU as a maker campus has broad connections throughout our home town of Corvallis and the state of Oregon. In addition to the 15 agricultural experiment stations, 35 county extension offices, the Hatfield Marine Science Center, and the OPEN campus network that are part of OSU itself, we have connections to municipal, civic, arts-based, economic development, and many other types of groups throughout our state.
We feel the culture of making captures what it means be a true part of the OSU community. In many ways, maker culture has helped us define and shape processes and objectives that have existed for a very long time here. In other words, in Beaver Nation, we make things. Uniting under the label of “maker” allows for our campus communities to share ideas, tools, and stories across traditional firewalls and . Engineers and artists have come together in new ways, as have Extension agricultural specialists and hackers, community members and local high school robotics clubs,
The innovations across our engineering, business, arts, and many other programs all reflect the maker spirit at OSU.
The Co is a bold recent step in this direction. Part maker faire and part academic gathering and forum, The Co brings together makers of all ages from across campus, Corvallis, and the whole State of Oregon to celebrate and share their methods for hands-on learning. From the creative problem solving skills so crucial to education in the 21st century to the benefits of quick prototyping tools needed to drive an innovative economy, every discipline and every individual has something to learn and something to teach.