In August, the first batch of U students moved into the Lassonde Studios, a living and learning space at the forefront of creativity and innovation. The Lassonde Institute invited students, donors, alumni and faculty to celebrate the final completion of the Lassonde studios on Sept. 22.
At the center of the ceremonies, was Pierre Lassonde himself, who donated $25 million the institute. Lassonde is a former U alumnus and founder of the first publicly traded gold royalty company.
Natasha Fisher, a Business Entrepreneur major, said the studios provide opportunities to “turn our ideas into realities.”
Daily workshops, activities and events that aim to engage and inspire students make the studios unique compared to other areas of campus.
“It’s fun to learn about all kinds of subjects and meet people who are passionate about them,” Fisher said.
Daryk Childs, IS and Japanese major and Chair of the Make Program, explained that the environment is much different than other areas on campus. “Rather than simply sit and study for the sole purpose of passing the test,” Childs said. “We study to build our lives and create something new.”
The Make Program teaches students how to safely use tools ranging from 3-D printers to CNC lasers.
Tools like the Oculus Rift, 3D printers, building tools as well as machinery are available for student use.
An immersive tool, the Oculus Rift is a system that enables the sensation of presence and gives the feeling as though you’re actually there—in a video game, movie, or different part of the world. The rift is put on like a pair of goggles and is available to all students living in the studios.
“It really is a place to put your creativity to the test,” Childs said.
Childs, who commuted from home last year, believes the contrast between his prior U learning experience and his current involvement is stark.
“There was no application of my knowledge,” Childs said. “Here, I’m in the middle of campus, with every chance to meet people and use my education.”
David Pinnock, Mechanical Engineering major and Lassonde Institute student leader, said he also gets the most fulfillment out of interacting with driven students.
Academic diversity is a key aspect of the studios that harbors deep engagement, Pinnock said. The studios harbor students from every discipline, ranging from business to biology and film to engineering.
The studios, however, proves uneven in gender diversity –boasting nearly double the amount of enrolled men as women, 36 percent female, and 64 percent male.
Freshmen comprise the majority of new dorms at 50 percent, while sophomores occupy 17 percent, 14 percent are juniors, 12 percent are seniors, 6 percent masters and 1 percent doctoral.
Initiated in 2001, the Lassonde Institute now ranks in the top 25 nationally for entrepreneurship.