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Build Week

Build Week event photo

The Build Week Crew launching the event

I co-organized and ran Build Week, a student-run community stewardship project at Olin. We worked with Olin's administration, faculty, and staff to bring around 40 students back to campus early and facilitate communal projects.

Why?

Olin had a tradition of student-run Build Days, which designated time focused on campus improvements for students, faculty and staff. Thanks to the work of hundreds of now-alumni and their collaborators, Build Day created a strong sense of stewardship and care for the built environment we live and learn in.

Valuing communal spaces (and allowing them to exist without a designated "owner") has led to some great student-created campus features:

  • Laundry rooms with student-installed signage that helps walk incoming students through the process if they're unfamiliar.
  • Loft spaces that operate as small student-run social spaces, replacing some of the social infrastructure functions of a coffeeshop/bar.
  • Door signage that helps visitors (and non-visitors) interpret which direction to open doors. All of this signage was student-installed.
  • A student-run "jam room" with communal instruments, which is entirely maintained by the students who share the space.
  • A student-created "pool room," which converted an empty stretch of hallway into a social space. As objects wear out, students step in to repair or replace them.

We wanted to explicitly value care and maintenance labor. The last Build Day I can find details about was in 2014. I (and three other students who collaborated on Build Week) wanted to facilitate students, faculty and staff at Olin developing our ability to collaborate and improve the space for all. The students who initiated Build Week received funding and permission from a few members of Olin's administration, and we started planning.

What?

Photo:

Build Week Projects list

Build Week projects submission database

I built an AirTable database to track projects and interest. As a student organizing team, we wanted to allow participants to take ownership over campus. All stakeholders could express interest or commitment to specific projects through an open form. I linked the AirTable gallery to our Slack, which allowed for rich discussion on each project.

Build Week Slack inline discussion

How'd it go?