“The idea of the maker mind-set is that students develop creative confidence and a sense of agency—that they have the ability to creatively solve problems on their own and with their peers,” said Stephanie Santoso, director of the Make for All Initiative, who has helped bring maker culture to colleges and communities. “Maker-centered learning teaches life skills—critical thinking, collaboration and communication.”

Makerspaces on today’s campuses serve a variety of needs, including…

  • Offering students hands-on opportunities to employ their creativity
  • Giving them a place to find community
  • Providing psychological benefits for students struggling with mental and emotional health concerns, such as engaging in therapeutic exercises to help boost their mood, finding outlets for their emotions and discovering ways to heal
  • Allowing for opportunities to contribute
  • Achieving satisfying results for participants’ efforts
  • Offering psychological safe spaces where students can explore developmental issues

In essence, makerspaces offer students the opportunity to engage in ways that are different from their typical academic and co-curricular experiences. Recently, makerspaces have expanded their focus toward community, inclusion and equity, reported Inside Higher Ed.

“Today, almost every major university or college has some sort of makerspace, because they see it as an asset to their students and a necessity to round out their education,” Paul Gentile, a trustee of Fair Use Building and Research Labs, a nonprofit makerspace in New Jersey, told the publication. 

Learn more about engaging students through campus makerspaces – and many other methods – within our Student Engagement 2023: 50 Campus Initiatives to Motivate and Engage Today’s Students guide.