Sunderland Foundation Innovation Lab brings people together through technology

The Sutherland Foundation’s Innovation Lab at the Hale Library offers a variety of tools for all kinds of creative activities. (Archive photo by Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

Located on the first and second floors of the Hale Library, the Sunderland Foundation Innovation Lab provides students, faculty and staff in Kansas with access to cutting-edge technology.

“This is a place where faculty, staff, students, researchers and the K-State community come together in one place to have different types of conversations, collaborate, learn from each other, share life stories, access the equipment, programming and services we provide. we offer ”. This was announced by Deputy Director of the Sunderland Foundation Innovation Laboratory Jeff Sheldon.

Sheldon said talks on the innovation lab began in 2018 after the Hale Library caught fire.

“After the fire, we had no idea what was going to happen at that point because we knew there were big problems in the building,” Sheldon said. “We were then told that the Sunderland Foundation had partnered with the K-State Foundation to give a generous financial gift, and this in turn reset the process and lifted us to the second floor. It has made the whole thing much grander, and we are very grateful for that. ”

Sheldon said the donation has taken what was supposed to be a ground floor renovation, to a new level.

“The attitude changed very quickly from loss to opportunity,” Sheldon said. “The ability to take into account the role that technology plays in people’s working lives is important for Hale’s recovery.”

Sheldon said the initial renovation turned into a chance to unite people.

“Have a place that could be an incubator of ideas, bring people from different communities together and talk about what the future will look like, how technology will play in the classroom, introduce people to technologies and programs they would not otherwise have. that’s what all happened, ”Sheldon said.

The lab, which is a partnership between the IT department and Hale’s library, has space to create, a media studio, a sound studio and more.

“A media studio is like a haven for creators,” said Yahwele Ronne, co-chair of the Coordinating Committee of the Sunderland Foundation’s Innovation Lab. “It’s just a class center when people come. You have everything from video editing to audio editing and digital conversion. It’s also a great space to just study and work. ”

The lab also offers access to the latest technologies such as laser cutters, 3D printers and a widescreen scanner.

“The key to all of this is the feedback and the contribution that people give,” Sheldon said. “We try to provide a basic base of technology and opportunities that people can consider, and then we start going more and more to the edge and trying to release more and more new technologies to open up to people.”

The IT equipment reception desk, located on the second floor of the lab, gives students access to the equipment.

“We test different types of equipment for students and faculty, and so we have laptops, cameras, video equipment, projectors, etc., and it’s mostly all free,” – Brooke Younger, sophomore in supply chain management and department employee IT equipment. said. “If children need equipment for school or their laptop goes out, they can come to us.”

Ron said the next step is to continue to create an innovative culture in the lab.

“We want to engage faculty, staff and students and say,‘ How does this intertwine with your major? Your goals? Your goals? ” Said Ron. “We try to cultivate an innovative culture when we bring in teachers from all walks of life and different departments to create a true culture and diversity.”

The Sunderland Foundation Innovation Lab is open from 8pm to 5pm Monday to Friday. For more information or to book a place, students, staff and faculty can visit the K-State Libraries website.

“We’ll see that some of the following great inventions, prototypes and ideas come straight from this lab, which is really cool,” Ron said. “We’ll see entrepreneurs, we’ll see inventors, we’ll see new ways to solve problems, and I think that’s innovation.”

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