Resource Spotlight: The Workroom

Published on Oct 11, 2016

By Neal Steichen

The Columbia College Chicago Workroom has recently moved locations on campus to the 1st floor of 623 S. Wabash. We talked to Leo Selvaggio ’11, the Coordinator of the Workroom and the Department of Exhibitions, Performance, and Student Spaces, about the new location and how students can best take advantage of the on-campus service.

Columbia’s website calls the Workroom a “student-centered Makerspace for student creativity outside the classroom.” How do you see the Workroom?
The Workroom supports and empowers students to experiment with different forms of making. Our student are multi-modal in their creativity, and while their departments support their professional creative practice, the Workroom is here to engage students in all the other forms of making they participate in as well as provide programming that introduces them to new skills. We develop and produce anywhere from 4-8 workshops a semester that span a variety of topics, from decorative cloud lamps to DIY Makeup. Think of us as Pinterest 24/7, or “The Learning Studio” for making.

Students create in the workroom

What can the Workroom do for students? Are services that students might not know about?
Well, most people know about our button making and our glue guns, but what most students might not know about is that our staff is here to help them creatively problem solve their projects. I see a lot of students who want to make something and have 85% of it figured out, but that last thing they can’t quite get stops them from making it entirely. The staff at the Workroom is here to help students break through that last 15% of uncertainty.

Do you have any favorite aspects of the Workroom?
It’s so gratifying to see a student come into a workshop, hesitant and not sure if they will be able to make whatever it is we are making, and then something just clicks. They realize that they can be and are a maker, and that is the best part and most important thing the Workroom does: challenging the belief that only certain people can or should make, or fabricate, or design.

A future Workroom event

Why is the Workroom being moved?
First, we are going to be more visible resource for students. Students can only take advantage of the resources they can see and know about. While our old home was great for certain things, it was difficult to connect with students there. Our new location will open us up to the heart of campus. Our new windows will not only allow us to advertise our workshops through creative displays, but it means that students will be able to see other students using our services and be encouraged to walk in and learn about us. For example, our first workshop called ColorMeZen, which occurred before our doors even opened, had over 50 students attend. We have never seen numbers like that, and we couldn’t be more excited.

The Workroom is now located at 623 S. Wabash on the 1st floor in the lobby and is open Monday-Thursday, 10am-5pm, and Friday 12pm-5pm. You can follow them on Facebook at CCCWorkroom and email questions to workroom@colum.edu.