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BeAM Student Fee Referendum Information

Be A Maker (BeAM) is a network of four makerspaces at Carolina currently open to any UNC student, staff, or faculty member. You and anyone on campus can join the UNC maker community to design and create physical objects for education, research, entrepreneurship, and recreation. BeAM is where you can make, invent, and be creative.

On February 11th, there will be a referendum for a $17 annual student fee, which will maintain BeAM’s current services, continuing open access to all on campus. The vote will be held using Heel Life and will coincide with Student Government and other campus elections. We encourage all students to educate themselves and exercise their right to vote in all ballot areas on February 11th.

What does open access mean?

BeAM’s philosophy is that all students deserve the chance to become makers and therefore we are proposing a student fee, which would allow for open access, rather than a pay-for-service. Since we launched our first makerspace in 2016, we’ve provided open access to everyone in the UNC community. Anyone from any background in any major can take a training and access our makerspaces. You can build almost anything your mind can conceive! BeAM wants to continue providing all students with the tools and resources they need to create, innovate and build job skills that leading companies are looking for.

BeAM at Carolina is quite unique in the national university makerspace landscape. We are open to all and provide studio spaces, training, equipment, materials, and an outstanding student staff to support the maker community. At many universities, makerspaces are hidden, require a steep membership fee for access, or are restricted to students of specific colleges or departments (e.g. engineering). At a university such as Berkeley, students may pay over $150 per year to access their makerspace/innovation hub.

Ballot Language to Appear on February 11th

The Department of Applied Physical Sciences has petitioned the University for the imposition of a new student activity fee to contribute toward sustained financial support for the operation of the “Be A Maker” (BeAM) network of makerspaces at UNC. If approved, the fee would be set at $17 per student for the 2020-2021 academic year and would apply to all full-time, fee-paying undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. If the initial creation of this fee is approved by students, future increases to the fee would not require approval by student referendum but would be subject to the usual fee review process, including review by the student-led Student Fee Audit Committee (SFAC).

By voting “Yes,” to this measure, you indicate your support for creating this fee and setting it in the amount of $17 per student for the 2020-2021 academic year. Furthermore, you indicate your support for the following amendment to Chapter 1, Article VII of the Student Constitution (“Independent Agencies”).

Section 22. “Be A Maker” (BeAM) Makerspace Advisory Board
The BeAM Advisory Board shall be the governing body of the BeAM Program and shall, in cooperation with the Department of Applied Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, provide oversight and strategic guidance for the curricular and co-curricular programming as well as the capital investment decisions of all makerspace facilities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

___ YES
___ NO

What is provided by Beam?

*Cumulative data since check-in system was brought online in fall 2017

Student makers can participate in a variety of activities, including:

  • Open studios
  • Training sessions
  • Workshops
  • Hosted classes
  • Group activities

What tools and technologies can you learn to use at BeAM?

BeAM provides makerspaces, equipment, training, staff support, and even some supplies and materials. At BeAM, you get direct, hands-on access to emerging tools and technologies, such as:

  • 3D printing
  • Laser cutting
  • Woodworking
  • Sewing
  • Metal fabrication

Come See for Yourself – All are Welcome

We invite you to join us at any of our upcoming open house events through February 11th:

  • Tuesdays from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Hanes Art Center
  • Wednesdays from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Murray Hall
  • Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Carmichael Residence Hall
  • Fridays from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Kenan Science Library

*Open house and packout/table events will continue through the spring semester, with times to be announced soon.

Student Fee FAQ

The fee would show up alongside tuition and other fees. The fee would not be collected when students visit BeAM MakerSpaces.
This coming fall (Fall 2020).
The $17 fee will be assessed annually.
This is somewhat complicated, but the short answer is BeAM will be able to maintain its current levels of service to the university. It would also allow for the creation of a student advisory board.
Again, this is complicated, but the short answer is that if everything else remains the same, BeAM’s budget will decline, so services would be reduced accordingly. Open hours, offered materials, equipment maintenance and replacement, staffing, trainings, etc. would be impacted at different levels.
Not yet. That’s the next step regardless of the referendum outcome.