From behind the SHED information booth—a student staffer’s eye view

Carlos Ortiz

RIT student Gabe Carson takes questions at the SHED information booth. Carson is a Performing Arts Scholar and plays drums in the RIT Pep Band. He has performed at nearly every home hockey game since 2021.

RIT student Gabe Carson, a third-year computing and information technologies major from Williamsport, Pa., works at the SHED information booth a few times each week. While morning shifts are quiet, with students rushing to their early classes, afternoons and weekends see more activity at the desk, he said.

Now that the first semester in the SHED is nearly over, students have learned to navigate the new SHED/Wallace complex. But when the SHED opened on the first day of fall semester, it was a new experience for everyone, including official way-finders like Carson.

Carson used to work behind the counter at the Control Alt Deli in Golisano Hall, where the questions were predictably food-related. (“Swiss or cheddar? Ham or pastrami? White or whole wheat? Mayonnaise or mustard?”) The SHED’s mixed-use construction combining classrooms, performing arts spaces, and makerspaces under construction—and 22 more classrooms in Wallace Library—has inspired a smorgasbord of questions. To help each other, Carson and his co-workers keep a list of questions people ask.

Carson’s list of frequently asked questions:

  • “Hey, where’s this classroom at?”
  • “How do I get to this place here on campus? “
  • “When’s this makerspace area going to be open?”
  • “Hey, where’s the bathroom at?” (One of the most asked questions.)
  • “Is this part of Wallace or is this part of the SHED now? Or are these just one building now?”
  • “Where’s the steel girder everyone signed before the SHED was built?” (Note: For the beam’s location, see “About the beam.”)
  • “I’ve lost something. Do you have it?”

The SHED information booth doubles as a repository of lost things. Students have left behind a trail of personal articles, such as sweatshirts, hats, gloves, flash drives, pens and pencils, jewelry, and—to Carson’s surprise—their RIT ID cards.

Another set of regular questions Carson has fielded focuses on the performing arts spaces, upcoming performances, and the Sklarsky Glass Box Theater. Carson, who is also a performing arts scholar and plays drums in the RIT Pep Band, said people are curious about the theater technology that transforms the glass box into a black box, depending on the production. (The answer is mechanized louvers within the glass walls and ceiling, Carson said.)

The ongoing construction has delayed the full use of the SHED, and the biggest question for many has been the status of the premier makerspace and performance teams workshops on the A-level.

Carson has had to redirect students to the Construct, the makerspace in Engineering Hall that has remained open during the transition to the SHED. The Construct will close when work in the SHED finishes during the semester break and the new makerspace opens for the spring semester.

With that last lingering question answered, Carson is anticipating a busy spring semester.

“What is cool about the SHED is it’s open to all students,” Carson said. “It’s not just for anyone into engineering, design, or industrial design, or anything like that. It’s open to all students, no matter what.”

The RIT community can explore the new building during the SHED open house on Jan. 18.

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