Each week, as we get to know our community and the broader IoT movement, we’re fortunate to connect with some remarkable individuals and organizations. In our “Makerspace Profile” series, we interview makerspace founders to learn more about the maker movement around the world.
In this profile, you’ll meet HackCville based in Charlottesville, Virginia.
How did HackCville start?
HackCville was founded by University of Virginia alum, Spencer Ingram, in 2012 as a response to the growing needs of college students. He wanted a place to start projects outside of academia to avoid the weight of “failure” that is so often debilitating on campus, and a support system of like-minded ruckus-makers.
What was the initial response to HackCville like?
Mostly developers and programmers came to HackCville as a place to launch their startups. The first cohort of members used the space as an incubator for their business ideas. They named the clubhouse “HackCville” as a tribute to their tech culture, but the space has since evolved to be more inclusive of art, creativity, and entrepreneurial thinking at large. There is still a strong presence of developers, but the cross-disciplinary return on collisions is more robust and less centered on starting companies, though there are still members that are founders.
What kind of equipment and resources do you provide participants?
We host classes, workshops, and events to educate, support, and connect people who like to make a ruckus. Our space is member-oriented and member-run so participants teach other interesting skills and collaborate on cool projects. Our in-house media publication teaches classes on digital communication and student-run startups teach anything from screen-printing to marketing strategy to Ruby on Rails. Outside companies teach workshops on Business Development and UX/UI, as well as offer recruiting opportunities. We have a workshop, screen printer, media studio, and lots of space for free-from expression.
What does “hacking” mean to you and your community?
“Hacking” means taking agency in self-directed learning to find meaningful passions and ultimately exciting careers. We help students “hack” their projects, job searches, and education as they learn more about the value they want to bring to the world. We provide a network of creatives, technologists, and entrepreneurs as well as events and programs to serve as resources in launching their projects and passions.
What projects are people working on?
Our members have varied interests and projects. Among them: a student-run marketing firm, media publication, course listing website, local produce non-profit, on-campus mobile deli, apartment bakery, garden growing, ed-tech for med students, social quizzing app, career tourism for startups and college students, bar queue app, BitCoin data mining, medical hackathon, creative lockin, restaurant search app, online career services, social entrepreneurship blog, business development consultancy, t-shirt company, mobile app consultancy, local coffee brewery marketing, e-commerce for philanthropic t-shirts, and a regional music, art, and innovation festival.
What are your future plans?
We hope that all university students, regardless of major or year, know HackCville as a place to attend cool events, learn interesting skills, start projects, and meet other people who believe in making things happen and shaking things up. The space caters to the interests of its members and many of our students are excited about growing their business ideas and/or getting employed at companies that they’re excited about. We are looking into exploring more of these opportunities in the future but for now plan to reach as many students as we can to get them excited about using their own agency to pursue meaningful projects