UNH students file in and out of the Memorial Union Building (MUB) every day, often more than once a day. Whether it’s to evade New England’s fickle weather, to meet up with friends for coffee, or to pick up a package from Granite Square Station, the MUB, as the sign above Union Court suggests, really is the “center of it all.”
According to MUB Assistant Director for Facilities and Events Nora Molloy, the MUB is an ideal place to hold an exposition for UNH faculty, staff and students to showcase creativity.
UNH will host its first ever Makers Expo in the MUB’s Granite State Room on Dec. 2. Individuals, departments and student organizations will be promoting and selling creative goods as part of the expo, running 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Molloy purposely called the Makers Expo a “creative goods” fair rather than a “crafts” fair.
“I didn’t want people to be limited to the idea of a crafts fair. We didn’t want to box it in,” she said. For instance, one vendor is creating and selling video games.
At the exposition, shoppers can expect to see ceramic pieces, cards and prints, jewelry, wrapping paper, wood burning pieces, knit goods, tapestries, dream catchers, purses, bags, quilts, coloring books, video games, CDs and a henna tattoo booth.
Molloy said that she has a vision for an event that both promotes and celebrates the special talents of the UNH population. She said she wants staff and students alike to appreciate one another’s artistry and that she is confident this event epitomizes the MUB’s mission.
“We provide the spaces where people come together– whether it’s for flu shots, for a student organization performance or for a movie. We provide the community with our mission in a passive way, like attractive lounges where people want to gather, the food court or the events. Having the exposition is a proactive way for us to promote community on campus,” Molloy said.
The timing of the event overlaps with the town’s annual holiday tradition, “Light Up Durham,” which involves a house lighting decoration contest and a tree lighting ceremony. Molloy said that she believes the event will tie in nicely to the larger holiday celebration and that the two events complement one another in the spirit of bringing the town and university communities together.
Molloy said that the Markers Expo would be mutually beneficial for vendors and shoppers because the event’s date also coincides with holiday shopping for those looking to pick up presents for family and friends. She noted that the vendors have a chance to practice their trade skills while also making money, making it a winning situation for both parties.
“It’s a professional development opportunity for them to be able to start presenting themselves and talking to the public about their work, sort of like doing a practice interview for a traditional career,” Molloy said.
Vendors have the potential to range from individual students, such as fine arts majors; student organizations, like a cappella groups; and campus departments, like the Thompson School’s greenhouse program.
The range of personalities is not only diverse, but also extremely interdisciplinary and the talents are unexpected. Molloy said she has someone from the hospitality management department doing handmade drawings and designs, someone from the psychology department doing wood burning, someone from the neuroscience department doing handmade jewelry and someone from the occupational therapy department doing knit products.
Molloy was visibly excited about this event. “We’re more than just the job we do,” she said, which is important to remember as we become swept up in the rush of work, school and reality. The Makers Expo is a window to display the products of peoples’ most creative selves. It’s a chance to see what the UNH population does in their free time in order to unwind, allowing shoppers and vendors to connect on a deeper, more expressive level, ultimately culminating in a stronger community bond.
Molloy is still taking registrations and will continue to do so up until a week before the exposition. There is a registration fee for vendors, but no admission fee for shoppers. Methods of payment will depend on the vendor, so bring cash and cards.
Find out more information at unh.edu/makersexpo and email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.