[hackerspaces] Is making alliances with education institutions good for a hacekrspace?

Arclight arclight at gmail.com
Wed Oct 16 23:47:18 CEST 2013

It's definitely possible to work with people from schools or colleges
without submitting to their rules. Seriously, the reason we spend all of
this personal money building labs, workshops and rooms equipped with
couches and kegerators is so that we can make up the rules for ourselves.

I see hacker spaces as a place where smart people that don't fit into the
regular program can turn to. We've let school kids and university students
use our space to get their projects done. A lot of these institutions have
lots of rules around the labs and such they do run, and want everything to
be structured. They tend to have professors who haven't done anything
hands-on in 30 years and are scared of power tools. If the people who show
up are cool and fit in, they are welcome.

If someone wants to donate something, they are also welcome, as long as
there are no strings attached. For this reason, most of our donations tend
to be from the "swiped this from the scrap bin" category.

Now I think there might be a way to get steady funding from the education
system without selling our souls. I've noticed that a lot of the brilliant,
hands-on tech guys that own small companies or run departments in larger
ones are getting old and close to retirement. They are having trouble
finding kids with hands-on skills as well as any motivation to take their

Some of these places offer scholarships and mentoring, to try to funnel
future employees into learning whatever weird art they practice there.
We're talking things like EMC testing, specialty airplane parts, etc.

Making a hacker space membership part of the "money and support" package
for these little scholarships might be a good way to get steady revenue for
a larger space.  I think the older generation folks who went through
apprenticeships or built a living with their wits would recognize what we
do as valuable.

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