On the Ithaca College campus, I’ve witnessed the countless ways we carry curious concepts to fascinatingly creative conclusions. From art installations to drum circles, videography to construction, our community is full of people who create something out of nothing. I only have one qualm to this notion — these opportunities are only hitting a small portion of students on our campus. The value placed on creativity is relegated only to the product it brings about, steering creativity to those who intend to use it for a profit motive, rather than personal fulfillment. For example, students in the Roy H. Park School of Communication are the ones that create, but the students in the School of Business are the ones that do not. Of course, there are exceptions, and I hope the students who are traditionally expected to scoff at the arts but instead choose to participate, encourage their peers to do the same.
I manage the Center for Creative Technology on campus, a place where students, faculty and staff can bring a creative need or idea to life. I’ve seen firsthand the joy that the process of finishing a project brings to those from every corner of campus. The importance of these endeavors cannot be understated. Cathy Malchiodi Ph.D. is an esteemed researcher and practitioner of art-related therapy. In 2002, she made a bold claim that “making art … may be as important to your health as balanced nutrition, regular exercise, or meditation.” She went on to support these claims in her research, finding that creative expression counters all sorts of mental anguish. College students are under stress so often that taking time to create is a necessity, and the college provides resources and spaces on campus to facilitate that need. A quick check-in to the IC Engage website reveals that there are 12 clubs listed under the “arts” and 26 under the art category — all of them open for anyone to join.
Working in the Makerspace on campus has made it apparent that those already engaged with creative work are those most willing to seek out more opportunities for it, but on rare occasions, someone disengaged from creativity with a little extra time on their hands will stop by. During these visits, many have found something they truly enjoy doing. Making something to be proud of is a universal experience that so many overlook entirely. I hope to receive many more visitors at Makerspace who ask, “What’s this place all about?” Providing a creative outlet to those who didn’t know they needed it has been the most satisfying and the most important work that I have done with my time at Ithaca College.
I urge those who have no outlets, who may be creatively starving to branch out, to try something you’ve never done before. Learning new skills can be frustrating at first, but progress always pays off. When I started working at the Makerspace, I was pushed to try everything I could get my hands on. I’m forever grateful that I was, and I take great pride in being the driving force for those that need to create. To visit the makerspace, check out our website. Come make something with us, it’s important.