Opening the Doors to Collaboration
After years of hard work, long meetings, and communal efforts, the doors for the John A. and Susan Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation finally were opened for the Fall Quarter. The Dedication Ceremony was a wonderful celebration of all of the work that has gone into turning an idea into a reality - it even included a surprise visit by Gov. Gavin Newsom ’89.
The SCDI integrated STEM Campus -- which includes the new Sobrato Discovery building along with the updated Heafey and Bergin Buildings -- provides a variety of new spaces that redefine educational environments. These reimagined spaces will serve to create exciting and inspiring opportunities for students to grow, learn, and collaborate for years to come. The Bronco Community vision for this venture began in 2013, and by 2018, the revisions to the Heafey and Bergin buildings came to fruition; and not long after, ground broke for the Sobrato Discovery building. The Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation is far more than a STEM campus: the new areas welcome undergraduates of all majors, beyond engineering, to enjoy its spaces. Almost all undergraduates will have a class in the new building, wherein even non-stem majors are able to fulfill their natural science requirements and/or elective courses. The collaborative rooms - with doors wide open - provide the perfect space for everything from informal student-led think tank sessions, faculty run projects, or just the space that stimulates learning, growth, and interpersonal connection. Even when the SCDI was nothing more than an idea, its aim always extended far beyond STEM. Integrating a wide variety of opportunities and disciplines will present new perspectives to old problems and fuel dynamic innovation to take head on the problems yet to come.
The campus includes a variety of novel spaces such as the Latimer Energy Lab, the 3,000 square foot Innovation Zone, the Frugal Innovation Hub, and state of the art Robotics Systems Lab located in the Sobrato Discovery building; as well as the virtual reality Imaginarium, and the WAVE computer lab located in the Heafey-Bergin Building. The open spaces, state of the art technology, and commitment to diversity will allow Santa Clara to perpetuate one of its goal to “build on its academic programs and linkages within Silicon Valley to become one of the top educational institutions advancing an entrepreneurial mindset, scientific discovery, and technological innovation in greater service to humanity” and to realize the School of Engineering’s vision to educate the whole person to solve society’s most complex problems. Collaborating the knowledge and vision within arts and sciences alongside the knowledge and technical skills of STEM fields, as well as state-of-the-art technology, will propel the SCDI along its mission: connection, collaboration, and creation of a better world.
The integrated STEM space will also serve a purpose beyond education; Elaine Scott, Dean of the School of Engineering, says it “will provide a focal point for bringing people together in the Silicon Valley to address critical issues facing our world. This will be the catalyst for building partnerships with local companies, providing internships and projects for students, and research programs for both students and faculty.” This investment - an investment in the one of largest STEM facilities in the country for undergraduate students - is an investment in the future of education and the future of the world. Santa Clara is providing the place, attracting the people, and the product will follow. The message is clear: a more just, humane, and sustainable world of tomorrow is being built right here, today.