Sixth Annual Kent State Mini-Maker Faire Brings a Crowd
On Friday, April 12, the Kent State University Library’s Garden room was filled with students, makers, crafters, gamers, and admirers from across the region. For the sixth year, the Mini-Maker Faire at Kent State brought robots, gardeners, gaming enthusiasts, and more to showcase their projects and teach the public about their areas of interest.
The interactive environment engaged kids from elementary to high school and people of ages, with plenty of hands-on activities for the 300-plus attendees. People were running robots, watching 3D printers, designing clothing, planting mini-gardens, and solving problems. Maker Faire is an event created by Make magazine and held all over the world to “celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the Do-It-Yourself mindset.” Being a “maker” is about being passionate about what you are doing and sharing that passion by encouraging and supporting others on their journey of creating, which was evidenced throughout the afternoon from everyone in the room.
Zach Mikrut, LaunchNET Kent State program manager and co-host of the event, reflected that “It’s great to be able to showcase such innovative and entrepreneurial spirit from Kent State and the surrounding community; it’s awesome that we’re able to reach so many people from such diverse backgrounds.” The exhibitors included the Kent State eSports team; community groups, like the Society for Creative Anachronism and the Socially Responsible Sweatshop; companies like Tiny Circuits, Kent Fabrics, and GardenBox; and demonstrations from local makerspaces: Hudson High School, Holden Elementary School in Kent, Kent State Tuscarawas campus, and the University Libraries’ SPARK makerspace and Student Multimedia Studio.
The Maker Faire has been an ongoing collaborative project between LaunchNET, University Libraries, College of Aeronautics & Engineering, Research Center for Educational Technology, Design Innovation Initiative, and the College of Art in past years. The event highlights the wide variety of interesting, collaborative, and passionate projects embarked upon by the Kent community as a whole and brings together innovative thinkers and doers with places and people who serve as resources across campus and the region. HIlary Kennedy, Assistant Professor and manager of Library Makerspaces, remarked that, “This year’s Mini Maker Faire was arguably our best yet! It was a fantastic showing of creativity and innovation – from academic makerspace showcases to virtual reality and even a live-action R2D2!”