For anyone not in the loop, Boston College recently opened its very own makerspace! Located in the new 245 Beacon Street, The Hatchery opened in Fall of 2022. Makerspaces have begun to pop up at universities around the country—in fact, one of the best in the nation is just a short way away at Brown University in Providence! The concept of a makerspace is pretty simple: it is just a dedicated area inside of a school, library, or other place open to a large group of people with an array of no-tech to very high-tech tools to create with. The Hatchery houses 3D printers, laser cutters and engravers, sewing and embroidery machines, vinyl cutting machines, and an array of woodworking tools. Along with these machines, the Hatchery provides the materials (wood, vinyl, acrylic, fabric, thread, etc) that are free to use with all of their corresponding tools.
One of the most surprising things about the Hatchery is that it’s available for use by every single BC student, free of charge. Some projects may require you to bring your own materials, but it is totally possible to create something entirely out of the free materials provided in the makerspace. It’s important to note that prior to actually using any of the tools, students must complete a (relatively quick and easy) online training just to get the basic safety requirements down before trying things out in person.
A crucial aspect of BC’s vision for the makerspace is student involvement. If you just walked into the Hatchery on a random day, you may be surprised to see some of your peers working there! Undergraduates take the reins in the Hatchery. Student employees lead training sessions, test out new equipment, and participate in workshops designed to get the student body more familiar with the Hatchery.
These workshops are another unique and often overlooked part of what the Hatchery has to offer. Their Instagram page (@bc_hatchery) is a great way to stay up-to-date on new and upcoming events. An exciting new collaboration is between The Hatchery and Patches, BC’s upcycling club. They've partnered to bring a once-a-month mending night to the Hatchery! Students only need to complete the basic Makerspace Orientation to participate and get the chance to give their well-loved clothes a second life using all of the resources and expertise that the space has to offer. The Hatchery has also hosted workshops on rug tufting and candle-making, along with a game night.
Some of the student employees of the Hatchery discussed with me what it’s like to work in a student-run space. The array of majors and academic interests of Hatchery employees is demonstrative of how much the space truly is for everyone! Maggie Hynes, MCAS ‘25, is a member of BC’s first class of human-centered engineering majors. She is the team lead for the Laser Cutting and Vinyl Cutting teams but also loves working with sewing and other textile crafts. Maggie noted that alongside these interests, “I also like being able to make ‘making culture’ more accessible to people who believe a space like this isn't for them.”
Camden Mullen, CSOM ‘25, has concentrations in Information Systems and Business Analytics. He works for the Laser Cutting, Vinyl Cutting, and Textiles teams, and also updates the Hatchery’s website. One thing he loves about working in the makerspace is seeing all the ways the BC community come in and use the space for good. “We’ve had students come in to work on projects for groups such as the Campus School, which allows them to make personalized solutions for the unique problems they may face,” he said.
Madie Simmons, MCAS ‘25, has a double major in International Studies and Computer Science and is on the Woodworking and Laser and Vinyl Cutting teams. She commented, “I decided to apply in an effort to get more involved on campus in a way that would let me engage directly in helping others to learn new skills.” Madie has always loved creating, especially working with crochet projects! Working in the makerspace has helped familiarize her with so many other ways of making things alongside her community.
The Hatchery’s real commitment to accessibility and collaboration is ever so prominent in all aspects of what it has to offer. Everyone involved with this project truly wants the entire BC community to benefit from the space in whatever way best suits them. So, if you haven’t already, try and experience something new at the Hatchery this semester!