St. Lawrence Awards Spring 2016 Innovation Grants

Now in its sixth year, St. Lawrence University announced the Spring 2016 Innovation Grant award recipients, which include exploring a new 3D printing and scanning center, enhancing student exposure to and skill with activism, creating new spaces for community, and supporting co-curricular eSports.

Supported by the President’s Office, the Innovation Grants program began in 2010 to encourage initiatives that will improve the quality of life at St. Lawrence through curricular, co-curricular or campus life projects and provide a foundation for St. Lawrence’s future. Students, faculty and staff are eligible for the grants.

Below are the winning proposals:

3D Printing and Scanning Center

3D printing has become much more affordable in recent years, and as a result many universities have established 3D printing facilities for student use. The goal is to establish the necessary facilities and means of support for the exploration of 3D printing for academic purposes by students, faculty, and staff across campus. This proposal seeks startup funding for a program that allows faculty, staff, and students to experiment with this technology. It will also require support and training opportunities provided by the Newell Center for Arts Technology (NCAT).

Building Skills for Advocacy and Activism

Building on the initial successes of the Global Dialogue Center (GDC) established with a 2013 Innovation Grant, this grant will support a yearlong series of alumni visits focused on advocacy and activism. St. Lawrence students who aspire to make a difference by participating in issue-driven advocacy and activism may lack specific skills that are needed to accomplish important work, such as building coalitions, creating social media and public campaigns, fundraising, media relations, citizen journalism and government lobbying. Activities would include GDC flash seminars, skills workshops, class visits and the creation of multimedia materials.

Campus Crossroads: The Sitting Stones

To facilitate small group interactions, the project will strategically add a series of sitting stones along the Student Center quad – a space that resulted from razing the old campus bookstore and health center. The project aim is to create functional spaces made up of an informal group of multi-level sitting stones, where the campus community will have a place to convene, rest between classes, people watch or picnic on a sunny day. This space could even function as an outdoor classroom. Creating an environment along the demarcation between the former SUNY Canton campus, the sitting stones would connect the two places and provide a focal point to reinforce a sense of place as well as a connection to the North Country.

SLU Cyber Café

Competitive online games have led to a surge in the popularity of eSports, drawing tens of thousands of viewers weekly and millions of viewers during peak events. While many play online, playing with and sitting next to friends enhances the experience by promoting the social aspect of gaming. This has given birth to cyber cafés, serving as effective offline portals to gamers who typically interact online. The St. Lawrence Cyber Café will provide an accessible space where students, faculty and staff can gather and share their interest in eSports while promoting interaction with nearby colleges and the local community. It will also enable students to explore collegiate eSports, which has resulted in university scholarships and tournament awards of tuition. Students could form SLU eSports teams and participate in tournaments at the café.