If you’ve been inside the LaunchPad on the first floor of Bird Library, you know that it was designed for creative collaboration. It’s a spot where ideas happen in a common coworking space that is full of innovative conversations. That’s all a little different this fall. Like so many other networking spaces around the country, we’re launching new events, activities and programs in the digital world, while still maintaining the network of support that makes the LaunchPad so indispensible to people who crave being part of a connected community.
The LaunchPad re-opens Monday, August 24 with some new nuances. Following public health recommendations, it will operate primarily through virtual programming with reduced density, and a rotating staff schedule that allows for a hybrid in-person and remote service model. The glass cube will be open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with meetings by appointment only. No drop-ins are allowed, and there is no evening and weekend key access except for classes in the LaunchPad that were scheduled in the registrar’s system. We’ll miss being the literal home to so many student organizations that operated out of the space evenings and weekends, and who are also moving into the digital events sphere.
While the hours of in-person services are different, the LaunchPad is greatly expanding its student team this academic year to add more capacity and provide even greater access to virtual support services. Professional staff will be available either in person or virtually, each weekday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. After hours and weekend mentoring will now be accessible virtually by scheduling on-line meetings with top-notch student peer mentors.
To manage density, there will be room limits in the LaunchPad and only those with pre-scheduled appointments with staff or mentors will be admitted. Those with appointments are asked to text when they arrive to be admitted. Tables and chairs in the LaunchPad are reduced to be in conformance with social distancing guidelines, face masks are now required at all times in the LaunchPad.
Teams of up to two or three people may work in the LaunchPad group meeting area if they have pre-reserved and if space allows. Times will be allocated on a first-come first-serve reservation basis. Usage will be monitored, and teams must text when they arrive for their reservations to be admitted.
Reservations for individual appointments or team meetings may be made by e-mailing LaunchPad@syr.edu.
Thanks for being accomodating as we put safety first. The LaunchPad will look, feel and operate a little differently this fall semester, but we know that we will be united by our desire to come together as a connected, creative community, whatever shape that takes. Above all else, we will continue to collaborate and innovate to deliver best-in-class programs and services.
One way you can stay connected is to join our new online community platform to communicate over voice, video, and text, connect with peer mentors, get advice, or just hang out with fellow like-minded innovators using Discord. It’s Slack meets Zoom with a pinch of Reddit, all in one place, curated on LaunchPad Discord. Join the LaunchPad Discord channel here, and connect in real time.
Discord is a freeware instant messaging, VoIP application and digital software platform that features integrated text, image, video and audio communication that a chat channel that can run on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and in web browsers. It truly is a virtual LaunchPad — if not in real life, at least very much in real time.
Nick Barba ‘20 who is working for the LaunchPad this semester as an independent program manager, is managing the Discord platform along with Rubin Family Innovation Mentors Patrick Prioletti and Emma Rothman (pictured above). For questions about Discord and how to use it to say connected, contact Nick at email@example.com