Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Volunteer!

We depend on volunteers to help make sure our Fab Lab continues to be a community-oriented space. After patrons have visited a few times they are welcome to get involved as a volunteer. We believe strongly in a model of mentorship, so that volunteers have pathways for guidance and connection.

Prerequisites and Process

There are two main ways to volunteer:

  1. Assisting with existing Fab Lab programming, such as open hours, programming at community sites, workshops, classes, research projects and more. We will do what we can to find a project that fits your interests and abilities. This option is best if you’re new to makerspaces and/or like to work with others, particularly in educational settings.
  2. Helping to expand or enhance a specific capacity at the lab. Past examples have included building the Neuromaker CNC routing system, developing the sign-in interface back-end or fixing embroidery machines to lobby for a new e-textiles area. This option is best for individuals who are driven, experienced and can work largely independently.

Depending on which of these you choose prerequisites will vary. All volunteers will need to first spend some amount of time at the lab or community locations getting to know staff and participants as well as tools, techniques and our cultural norms and values. They can start by watching our overview video and making a name tag for themselves.

Benefits

  • Valuable experience and technical skills
  • Connect into powerful social networks
  • Showcase items for a portfolio or resume
  • After one year keyed access to the space as well as advanced materials and equipment
  • Have even more fun
Virginia McCreary, Volunteer

How to Start?

Regardless of how you to choose to proceed we will assign you a mentor from our staff pool related to your interests and experience. Contact communityfablab@gmail.com and ask us to help you get started. We’ll set up a meeting with a staff member or another volunteer to talk about projects and possibilities.

Before you do this, however, you can start by guiding your own path of involvement. There are several ways this might happen:

  • Hang out in the lab, meet people, work on projects
  • Learn how some of the tools work and help others to use them
  • Find us on Facebook, YouTube and share pictures and videos of creations as well as events and insights
  • Share tutorials for projects and techniques with our Google Doc templateemail us the link when you’re done!
  • Collaborate with us to bring in an organization or group you’re connected to for a workshop
  • Talk to any of the staff or core volunteers to learn about more ways you can informally help out during open lab