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One of the unique features of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Residences for Innovative Student Entrepreneurs (RISE) center, opening August 2023, will be the makerspaces—where students will have exclusive access to 3D printers, laser cutters, tools, sewing machines, project workspaces and more to bring their ideas to life. The RISE makerspaces were inspired by the “make space” at the University of Utah’s Lassonde Studios.

rendering with people sitting on chairs and working on tables
Rendering of RISE makerspace (Photo credit: Hunt Development Group)

The Lassonde “make space” features a shop, tools and prototyping room that provide students with the resources they need for any project, ranging from heavy machinery, 3D printers, sewing machines and more. All students across campus are welcome to use the space with fellow students providing training on how to properly and safely use the machines.

The RISE makerspaces are a key component of the $70-million, six-story, live-learn-work facility. It will be located within the 10,000 square feet lower floor that will include meeting, recording and classroom space and will be managed by Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) in UH Mānoa’s Shidler College of Business. The six-story building will house 374 student residents.

“It’s really a game-changer for all of those students who have ideas that have the product element to it,” said PACE Executive Director Sandra Fujiyama. “So being able to have the makerspaces at RISE under the same roof as our co-working and ideation spaces will give them that opportunity to really bring their ideas to life.”

person working on cutting a piece of wood
Derek Martin working in the University of Utah Lassonde Studios’ shop.

Current and prospective students at any of the 10 UH campuses are welcome to apply. For more information and to apply starting in fall 2023, visit the RISE website. All RISE student spaces, including student housing rooms, will be open by August. The Atherton wing, which will house office space for UH Foundation and additional ideation space for PACE, is expected to be completed by January 2024.

Constructing a Spam musubi maker in Utah

two blocks of plastic
Joy Libarios’ 3D printed Spam musubi maker

Joy Libarios was able to bring her idea to life at Lassonde Studios. The Sacred Hearts Academy graduate is a junior civil engineering student at the University of Utah and lives in Lassonde. Being nearly 3,000 miles away from home, Libarios often craves her favorite Hawaiʻi meal, Spam musubi. Her mother sends care packages with rice, Spam and nori, which inspired her to utilize the make space to create her own musubi maker.

“I went on the 3D printer and I designed, just like, a rectangle thing with a pusher, and it printed me out a Spam musubi maker, and I was able to make Spam musubi,” Libarios said. “I think that’s really cool how Lassonde provides us with that type of technology.”

Libarios also uses the laser cutters in the make space to create coasters with special lei designs, such as puakenikeni flowers.

She said she appreciates the one-stop-shop feel of having her living space, study space, dining options and the make space all in one building, which will all soon be available to UH students who will live at RISE.

Being amongst like-minded students

rendering of building
RISE exterior rendering (Courtesy: Hunt Development Group)

University of Utah freshman mechanical engineering student and Utah resident Derek Martin has a lot of experience in the make space and trains his peers on the equipment. His favorites are the laser cutter and table saw.

“The best thing is being around similar-minded people—people that like to build things,” Martin said. “I’m a mechanical engineering student so there’s a lot of people like me here. And seeing what people are building inspires me to build something like that of my own.”

Martin added that he initially thought that the make space would not be very popular.

Read more about the UH Mānoa RISE center.
To apply, visit the RISE website.

“It really surprised me how many people are invested in making things,” Martin said. “And, talking to them every day, helping them with what they need to get done, it really opened my eyes up with how many people want to create and use our space.”

The makerspaces at RISE will also be available to all UH System students who hope to prototype their ideas into reality.

—By Marc Arakaki

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