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Project Design Studio

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The University Libraries at Virginia Tech developed the Studios Network as a means to lower barriers to the spaces, resources, and communities that support collaboration, innovation, and creativity. Our spaces are designed to be as open as possible, allowing folks from across the campus community to engage our services.

The Project Design Studio was envisioned as a space to support student teams engaging in collaborative projects. Universities are increasingly asking their students to engage in project-based learning, develop new technologies, and become entrepreneurs. As we looked around our campus, we found that students often had a difficult time finding consistent space to engage in such endeavors. With that in mind, the University Libraries opened Project Design Studio with the following goals:

  • Provide a consistent workspace for students engaging in collaborative work.

  • Offer the material, monetary, and human support those students need to succeed.

  • Help students develop the skills and mindsets necessary for successful collaboration. 

  • Build a community that supports students as they engage in the high-risk, high-reward work of creativity.

  • Create a safe environment to engage in creative risk taking and serious play.

Benefits of Membership

As a member of the Project Design Studio, you can expect the following benefits:

  1. Membership in a community of other students engaging in collaborative, creative work.
  2. Swipe access to the Project Design Studio whenever the library is open.
  3. Open access to a shared workspace and the materials and technology therein.
  4. Access to your team’s private workspace.
  5. Access to the PDS conference room for meetings.
  6. Advising and support from the studio manager on topics related to collaboration and project management.
  7. Increased access to other resources offered by the Studios Network

Trial Membership

You qualify if you aren’t sure if the Project Design Studio is for you and would like to try it out OR you have an idea for a project but are uncertain how or whether to follow through.

To join as a trial member, you will simply email or talk to the studio manager, who will schedule a time to meet with you and the PDS student liaison. During this meeting, you will talk about why you are interested in joining and what kind of support you need and provide us with the information we need to set you up as a studio member. 

Trial membership lasts for two weeks, during which time you will:

  • Meet once with the studio manager and student liaison to discuss your goals and/or the next steps in your project
  • Spend time in the shared workspaces of the studio to determine if it suits your needs
  • At the end of the period, meet again with the studio manager and student liaison to discuss the possibility of moving forward with full membership with a private work space.

During this time, you will be expected to engage in appropriate conduct (as described below) but will otherwise not be held to any membership obligations except for the three listed above.

Full Membership

You qualify if you have a project you would like to work on–regardless of what stage of that project you are in or if you have even started.

To apply for full membership, fill out the Project Design studio project proposal form. The studio manager will invite you to meet with them and the student liaison to learn more about your project, tour the space, and review the benefits and expectations of studio membership.

Full membership can last for one semester or many semesters. During your membership you will:

  • Participate in an initial meeting, wherein we will discuss your expectations for your project and how you would like to manage it.

  • Attend at least one Project Design Studio Group Project Lab per semester. (This requirement may be substituted with a scheduled consultation specific to your team with studio staff if preferred.)

  • Be eligible to apply for a portion of a stipend pool. If you receive a stipend, a portion of your final meeting of the semester will be dedicated to discussing how you used the resources purchased with your stipend. 

  • Participate in a survey at the end of each semester where we will ask what you did that semester and your plans for the following semester.

  • At the end of your membership period, participate in a discussion with studio staff to debrief your experience, what went well, and what knowledge and skills you gained.

Recruited Projects

You qualify if you have been accepted to one of the project opportunities offered by the studio (e.g. the Keesee Sustainability Grant).

These projects are managed on a case-by-case basis. All available projects are listed on the Project Design Studio website. When you are accepted to a project, the studio manager will invite you to meet with them and the student liaison to learn more about your project, tour the space, and review the benefits and expectations of studio membership.

The duration of membership is dependent on which project you joined but typically lasts either one semester or one year. During your membership, you will:

Participate in an initial meeting, wherein we will discuss your expectations for your project and how you would like to manage it

  • Attend at least one Project Design Studio Group Project Lab per semester. (This requirement may be substituted with a scheduled consultation specific to your team with studio staff if preferred.)

  • Participate in a survey at the end of each semester where we will ask what you did that semester and your plans for the following semester.

  • At the end of your membership period, participate in a discussion to debrief your experience, what went well, and what knowledge and skills you gained.

Please note that recruited projects typically have their own budget and are not eligible to apply for a portion of the stipend pool. 

 

The application for the 2024-25 Keesee Sustainability Grant is open now through June 21st, 2024. Apply using the link below. The application will ask you for contact information, information about each individual on the project (including name, major(s) and expected graduation date), a project title, a brief (250 words or fewer) project description, resource needs (including estimated costs), and a brief description of how the University Libraries can support your project.

Apply here.

The University Libraries at Virginia Tech is pleased to invite undergraduate students in all disciplines and academic programs to apply through a competitive process to receive funding for sustainability research and projects.

Potential topics include (but are not limited to): ecological sustainability, environmental sustainability, environmental conservation, policy and sustainability.

Interdisciplinary projects are welcome.

Applicants may request up to $2000. Funding may cover project expenses such as supplies and travel costs. Recipients will also become members of the Newman Library Project Design Studio.

To join the studio on a trial basis, email Sara Bear at sweensk@vt.edu. 

For more information about the membership pathways, see the "Join the Studio" tab to the left.

Hours

Join us for a Group Project Lab! Our next one will be held on October 4th, 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. in the Project Design Studio!

The Project Design Studio is open to members any time the library is open. If you are interested in joining the studio, please read about our membership pathways under the "Join the Studio" tab then apply via the appropriate link above. Please contact Sara Bear at sweensk@vt.edu if you have any questions.

Workshops

The Studios Network offers many free workshops on various technologies and skills. See our list of upcoming workshops for information on how to register.

Contact

The Project Design Studio is located in Newman Library, suite 419.

Email sweensk@vt.edu for more information

Need Help?

We offer consultations on topics like collaboration skills, project management, and more. Visit our consultations page to see what topics we cover and request a time to speak with someone.