CU students partner with The Mint

New opportunities are on the rise for Castleton University students. The Mint makerspace in Rutland and Castleton students are working together to benefit one another.

Students involved in marketing, advertising and design programs on campus will be working with The Mint to help create and develop an image for their company.

Graphic design professor Bill DeForest already has big plans for the space, both inside and outside of the classroom. As a new professor at Castleton University, he was thrilled to hear about the creation of this merge between Castleton students and a local business.

“I really think this is going to change the game for the students and help them take their work to the next level,” he said enthusiastically.

DeForest, as well as multiple other professors, are helping their students get real-world experience by treating The Mint as a client. Together, professors and students are working to develop different aspects of The Mint and help cultivate it into a well-known feature of Rutland.

“It literally makes me walk around and look at the world and think about what I can do for it,” DeForest said.

He said he is looking forward to using machines he is familiar with, as well as learning about new ones by taking classes offered and interacting with the other members in that community.

“I think it would be a cool opportunity if students had the chance to have class in the studio occasionally,” first-year student Ian Shalek said.

As a communication major with a passion for film and design, Shalek is interested in taking advantage of what The Mint has to offer.

“This is somewhere I would go to make my ideas come to life,” he said.

Shalek’s favorite part of the makerspace was the prototyping lab, and more specifically, the 3D printing machines. He was most fascinated with the various projects made by the members at The Mint that were on display for all to see.

A small bulldog made by the 3D printer. Photo by Andrew Wilson. 

Paul Casman, a local craftsman fond of woodworking and member at The Mint, expressed his satisfaction with the makerspace.

“The Mint is the best thing to happen to this town,” the Rutland community member declared.

Casman has already put several hours of work into his current project. Using complex techniques, he is creating a bookstand with the intentions of turning a single piece of wood modular.

“Working at The Mint has allowed me to discover tools I didn’t even think I would ever need,” he stated.

Castleton students listen to Pete Gile, executive director of The MINT. Photo by Andrew Wilson. 

Since he started visiting the maker space, Casman has spent many days there working on projects and experimenting with the various machines available, including some of the tools in the jewelry lab.

Over the next few years as The Mint continues to develop, students and professors at Castleton University will continue to benefit from working with various local clients.

Working first-hand with a real company is an opportunity that not many undergraduate students are given the chance to learn from. The partnership between The Mint and Castleton University will allow both establishments to learn and grow from this experience.

“There is an increased pressure that comes with working with The Mint,” Professor Michael Talbott said. “It’s not a traditional classroom setting that students are used to.”

Talbott has played a significant role in helping develop the collaboration between The Mint and Castleton. His original plans were focused on developing the content lab on campus for next fall, but he used this opportunity with The Mint to identify students who would be willing to take a leadership role for the content lab.

Talbott is looking forward to watching students create their own stories through their work with The Mint.

“I think that the unfamiliar circumstances will help the students bring out the best version of themselves,” he said.

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