S.H.O.P. Your Way Through an Idea

S.H.O.P. Your Way Through an Idea

By Julia Dolinger
“Nothing is out of reach,” says Justin McCarty ’15 of the creative possibilities within SHOP, “no matter the idea.” SHOP (Student Handiwork for Organized Projects) is a project dedicated to building an entrepreneurial spirit within the Dickinson community. When it was proposed to the Idea Fund in 2012, its founders saw a need for a do-it-yourself knowledge base and mentality on campus. Their mission is to create a network of support where people can develop and hone vocational skills together. The SHOP work space, currently located at 380 W. North Street, is open to the Dickinson public both through open hours and with planned workshops. People can bring their ideas to SHOP and be supervised through the construction process, or learn a skill in the workshops that are led by facilities management. In the past, the workshops have taught participants how to change their oil, woodwork, landscape, or put up drywall. Specifically, professional contractors can teach students how to measure materials such as wood and drywall, craft from these materials using drills or other hand tools, and produce a finished product, from bookshelves and chairs to the renovation of walls and houses.


Dickinson College is one of only a handful of schools with an accessible workshop. Few other places offer students outside the engineering and design departments the opportunity to build and learn construction on demand. This chance has brought SHOP a number of engaged students who “are very creative and use the resource as it was intended, to improve their lives and the lives of others,” Justin notes. The problem? Getting more people involved. The location of the workshop and a lack of advertising are two areas where SHOP looks to improve. This summer, project leaders are planning a move to Allison Hall and will be the first student group to do so. Their hope is that a location more central to campus life will give SHOP an extra media boost. A space in Allison also allows the workroom to expand to three times its current size.
SHOP is also increasing its visibility through work with other student groups. Reinvest Dickinson, Student Senate, and the Biodiesel Expansion project have all commissioned SHOP to help them with construction tasks. Additionally, SHOP worked with facilities this past summer to assist with overflow jobs, such as painting the townhouses and bannisters across campus. Along with the creation of a larger presence on campus, SHOP’s agenda for this semester includes more workshops: “It would be great to have workshops on the use of hand tools and a possible certification process to decrease liability concerns,” Justin adds. SHOP is also interested in holding design workshops with the art department. If you have an idea, do not be afraid to bring it to the program. Justin emphasizes “as long as you can write it down or draw it, bring it to SHOP and we’ll try to make it happen.”
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