The buzz was instant as the Toaster opened its doors for the first time on Feb. 17.
“The faces of students that come into the space are almost always full of surprise!” said Ian Smith, a student worker at the Toaster. “It’s really interesting because this is a different kind of space when compared to a traditional library setting.”
Spaces filled up immediately, he said, with students working on group projects, while others worked on maker projects in the Breakerspace or sat in on the workshop, Bookbinding: Asian Stab Journals.
Several events also took place — including a talk by Kieran Foliard, founder of Cara Irish Pubs, 2 Gingers Whiskey, Food Building, Red Table Meat, and Lone Grazer Creamery. Foliard’s presentation was hosted by the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship as part of its Legendary Founder Series — which provides students weekly access to innovators and entrepreneurs.
‘A home for a variety of activities’
“From small group meetings to larger scale events and interactive coursework, the dynamic space has provided a home for a variety of activities,” said Erik Halaas, the Toaster’s Innovation Outreach and Program Specialist. “It has been most exciting to watch Toaster users learn from each other — whether it is hopping on the sewing machine or passively listening in on a workshop.”
Adds Smith: “As a senior it’s really exciting to see something that students have been asking for a long time come to fruition.”
Part collaborative space, part makerspace
Part collaborative working space and part makerspace, the Toaster includes 6,500 square feet of space dedicated to student-centered, multi-disciplinary innovation and entrepreneurship. The Toaster, located in the lower level of Walter Library, is open to all University of Minnesota students.
The Toaster is a place where students can:
- Connect and collaborate with fellow students
- Launch a product, service or vision
- Design, build, tinker and make
- Learn from industry experts
- Find campus resources