Love and sawdust in the air

March 5, 2020

A cluster of Hoyas gathered in the depths of Lauinger Library on Feb. 13. They were brought together, not by fate or midterms, but a force more powerful still—love. 

Georgetown’s Maker Hub, a center that fosters innovation and hands-on learning, was hosting “Last Minute Thoughtful and Considerate Gifts,” a workshop where Hoyas could spend the night before Valentine’s Day crafting something special to give loved ones.

3D printers whirled, InDesign peeked out from computer screens, and crayons littered the tables. In the background, literal lasers flashed inside a laser cutter, making us feel like we might be in yet another Star Wars movie.

Leah Northington waxes poetic about her roommate. Image Credits: Ryan Remmel

Mixed with a little sawdust, love was in the air, and it wasn’t just the romantic kind.

Leah Northington (COL ’20) was making a card not for a sweetheart, but for her roommate. Though it was only her second time in the Hub, her crustacean-themed product, if we may be so bold, reminds us singles of the true meaning of love:

For Jessica Richards (COL ’20), gift-making in the Hub is a chance not only to celebrate love for friends, but for the planet itself. “I think there are so many resources available to us that we should recycle and give to each other—and that’s why I think spending your holidays here is good!” she said. “Because you get to make things and give them to your friends, and you didn’t take a new resource from the Earth.”

Using recycled magazines and other repurposed materials, she’s something of a Maker Hub veteran. Alongside her friend Olivia Torbert (SFS ’20), she used the aforementioned laser cutter to create sets of earrings at this year’s workshop. Personally, we can’t take our eyes off the result:

Olivia Torbert keeps her eye on the prize. Image Credits: Torbert

For Torbert, Feb. 13 was just another day in the Maker Hub—her third day in a row, in fact, given that she volunteers there regularly. 

Torbert reminisced about first being introduced to the Maker Hub through the Georgetown Renewable Energy and Environmental Network (GREEN) Club. “And since then I never left” she stated, pointing out the hydroponic garden and aquaponics fish tank belonging to GREEN tucked along a back wall. 

Surveying the room of students at work, Yu Young Lee (COL ’23) spotted a pattern. “Considering that a lot of people are making lots of Valentines instead of just one, I am assuming that they are making them for friends, maybe also a significant other. Everyone is spreading the love,” Lee said. “It is about friendships and people you appreciate.” 

Valentine’s Day has a storied history, and so does this workshop. The event is in its third year, and according to Maker Hub manager Don Undeen, it’s one of the most popular—though their Halloween costume-making event also draws a crowd. For some Hoyas, apparently it’s better to be feared than loved.

The common Hoya: Thoughtful, Considerate, Last Minute. Image Credits: Jaden Kielty

Even when it’s not a holiday, Undeen sees plenty of interesting projects develop in the space. “There’s a guy who comes in and 3D prints things for his hedgehog, because, why not, right?” he said. “So yeah, I have trouble picking a favorite.”

It looks like Valentine’s Day has become a holiday for everyone–not just the Romeos and Juliets of Georgetown, but also the friends, roommates, and hedgehogs. It might even be for you! So next year, if you don’t have your gifts picked out by February 13, you know where to go. And who knows, maybe the crafty Hoya sitting next to you in the Maker Hub could be your next Valentine. 

Cover Photo: Flickr

Ryan Remmel
Ryan Remmel was an assistant news editor for the Voice.

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