Vice Chancellor for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Judith Cone said the BeAM staff wanted to get word out to the campus.
“You have to experience it to really understand what this facility is about,” she said. “I think every time someone comes in, like myself, I see something I can do here.”
Charlie Cummings, the makerspace program director, said the event was the grand opening for the Board of Trustees and for the general University community.
“We’ve had a soft opening in the beginning of the semester and we have actually been giving workshops and training, but this is the official ‘now we’re open,’” he said.
Richard Superfine, the director of BeAM, said he wants the Board of Trustees to understand what they’re trying to accomplish.
“Our big goal is to have half of all undergraduate students and research groups at the University use BeAM,” he said.
Superfine said making is a central activity that happens throughout the University.
“BeAM, if you want, can stand for be a maker, BeAM can also be a laser beam or it can be a smile on a student’s face when they make something for the first time,” he said.
Superfine said there are three facilities under BeAM — in the Kenan Science Library, in Hanes Art Center and now the new space in Murray Hall.
“The facilities allow you to make anything from 3D printing to laser cutting,” he said. “And more important than the tools are the people that come to the space and the community that’s developed by the space.”
The entire University community makes things, Superfine said.
“What we have not done to date is bring everybody out from their individual departments and bring them into a central space where they can meet each other and collaborate with and form a community,” he said.
“The other thing we need to do is we need to bring making into the awareness and capabilities and skills for all the students.”
Superfine said students will work in a world filled with tangible objects.
“Those tangible objects are conceived, designed, invented and finally fabricated so people can enjoy them,” he said. “Students need to understand how to go through that process so they can be part of the next generation of inventors and doers in society.”
He said there is a lot of communication and learning needed to know what making is and what BeAM is trying to accomplish.
“So some of that communication happens within the people who are going to use this space — the students and the researchers on campus,” he said.