Boston College students walking to classes can see through the modern glass walls of 245 Beacon to the array of wooden work surfaces, sleek machinery, and drawers upon drawers of tools of the Hatchery: Boston College’s new makerspace.
The Hatchery kicked off the semester with a week full of training sessions starting on Aug. 29. After students complete an online orientation and safety module, they can schedule trainings on specific machines or reserve time slots when they can work independently with a machine.
“It’s an outlet for students to turn their ideas into reality in a way that BC previously hasn’t really offered to this level,” said Madison Dunaway, the manager of design and innovation at BC and director of the Hatchery.
A team of student employees leads the individualized training sessions on the space’s equipment, including eight sewing machines, a vinyl cutter and a heat press, and a laser cutter. The space is also home to a digital embroidery machine, 3D printers, and wood-working equipment.
The Hatchery is open from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays.
Dunaway said that most materials in the makerspaces are free for students to use, and students can use the machines at no cost.
“The level that BC has committed is really impressive and really fantastic for the student body,” Dunaway said. “It’s one of the most equitable university makerspaces and maybe the most equitable university makerspace I’ve ever worked at.”
According to Hatchery team member Madison Simmons, MCAS ’25, makerspaces have previously been dominated by white men. The goal of the Hatchery is to break from preconceptions that only certain people can be interested in creative engineering, Simmons said.
The Hatchery’s mission is to foster accessible learning and inventive thinking.
All products that are made in the Hatchery can be taken home by their creators and Simmons this said incentivizes students to be imaginative and explore new skills.
“[Students] will use the vinyl cutter to make stickers and dorm decorations,” Simmons said. “A lot of people also make presents. One project that we’ve had a lot of people working on [is] making charcuterie boards and then sort of laser engraving bows with family members’ names.”
Sarah Treacy, MCAS ’24, began creating her own personal projects at the Hatchery last week and is sewing curtains for her ground-level apartment instead of buying a set online. Treacy said she’s excited to bring her creative ideas to life in the space.
“It’s very accepting,” Treacy said. “Nobody is going to judge you for whatever you want to create. Everyone’s going to make sure you’re safe and that you know how to do whatever you want.”
The Hatchery plans to collaborate with other student organizations, and Dunaway said she hopes to connect students to internships at companies that value the experiences students gain in the Hatchery.
“[There are] companies that are looking for graduates with experience, and there aren’t a lot of colleges that offer classes and specifically 3D printing,” Dunaway said. “It’s very evident that people need to hire students like the ones that we have.”