Hi everyone! It’s great to be back at Olin, where spontaneity and scheduling live side by side in perfect harmony.
A question that I get a lot when I give tours is "How do Oliners get off campus?" to which the honest answer is that although plenty of people do it, it does take a little bit of activation energy.
Getting between Babson, Olin, and Wellesley (the BOW three colleges collaboration) is simple: there’s a shuttle that runs between all three colleges every 30 minutes, so it’s easy to get from college to college for all cross registered classes, cross campus clubs, or cross campus events. Olin also has a lot of bikes designated as “GO bikes,” which are bikes kept in the East Hall bike storage room for community use. These bikes are handy for getting anywhere local (read: as long as you can pedal there and back, you’re golden).
For more adventurous students (and really, what Oliner isn’t?), getting out of the Needham/Wellesley area isn’t difficult. If you own a car, you can bring it with you to campus and pay a grand total of $0 for having it on campus. If you don’t own a car, you can easily send an email to our “helpme” mailing list and someone will usually give you a ride to where you need to go. Public transportation is also easy to access, and Eliot Station, an MBTA station on the Green Line, is (an almost exactly) 27 minute bike ride or 10 minute car ride away. The MBTA will take you directly into Boston, where you can explore one of America’s most historic and fun cities.
What I think is one of Olin’s most valuable resources for getting off campus, however, is the college van. Affectionately called the “Olin Van,” our 7-seat Dodge Caravan is available to licensed students who get trained and pass a background check (for the college’s insurance policy). If you’re going on a trip somewhere for a student organization or class, you can reserve the van. Maintenance and insurance is paid for by the college, so all you have to pay for is gas (and if you get funding for your trip, you might not have to pay for gas!).
Recently, I used the Olin Van to go on a trip to New York City with 4 other Oliners to attend the World Maker Faire at the NY Hall of Science. Computing Conversations, a club on campus that hosts monthly code jams and weekly conversations about computer engineering and computer science, planned the event.
We had an absolute blast at the fair, spending hours walking around the booths and seeing what everyone made, individuals and companies alike. The 3D printing village was filled with tons of 3D printing inspired projects and even had companies showing off their newest 3D printers. Atmel casually handed us dev boards for one of their new chips and we met people from OpenDesk.cc, which is a website that hosts open source build projects (there’s quite a few tables at Olin whose plans were downloaded from OpenDesk). We ended the day by watching a demonstration of the Life Size Mousetrap, a large Rube Goldberg contraption that ends with a giant weight crushing a car.
All in all, the trip was a blast! We saw so many cutting edge and inspirational projects, and we’re all itching to start more projects than we can possibly have time for.