A new Blue makerspace

Carolina's first makerspace inside a residence hall is helping student-innovators thrive.

A new makerspace opened on campus this fall and it’s the first to be located in a residence hall.

Blue, a full-scale, 3,000-square-foot makerspace, is located on the ground floor of Carmichael Residence Hall, which houses 400 students. Blue is the fourth makerspace to open as part of the Be a Maker (BeAM) network on campus since 2016.

“We have a simple goal, which is to make sure that Carolina is a place where innovators thrive,” said Judith Cone, vice chancellor for innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development. “The University wants to provide makerspaces like this because ideas come from all over campus, and we’re committed to helping people make their ideas real through the tangible process of making and doing.”

Highlights of Blue include:

  • 24 state-of-the-art 3D printers, the largest collection of these printers in a single location across campus.
  • An embroidery machine, the only such piece of equipment in the Carolina makerspace network.
  • A Klic-N-Kut machine that allows visitors to cut various materials, including paper and vinyl.
  • A wide selection of hand tools and work benches.
  • Electronics prototyping equipment.
  • A full-service kitchen that can be used by individual visitors and for pre-scheduled events.
  • An entrepreneurial think-tank space where visitors can meet, study and explore ideas together.

The space is a partnership between BeAM, Carolina Housing, the Blue Residential Learning Program and the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at UNC’s Kenan Flagler Business School. Carmichael is home to a group of 21 students who are part of a residential learning community organized by the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Kenan Flagler. This connection is meant to help bring entrepreneurial thinking into the Blue environment.

“I’m really excited about this facility because it brings making and entrepreneurship together as a fusion, and as a consequence, I think you are going to see communities formed where making and building ventures will become part of the Carolina experience,” said Ted Zoller, T.W. Lewis Clinical Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Kenan-Flagler.

Blue is open from 4-10 p.m. and open to the entire Carolina community. Participants must first attend an orientation session and then become trained on specific pieces of equipment. The trainings can be done at any of the BeAM spaces on campus.

Read more about the space at Innovate.unc.edu.