Launch pad: STEM Innovation Center is already on a rapidly ascending trajectory

STEM Center Rocket Launch

How else to launch a newly minted innovation center? With rockets, of course.

Truth be told, these rockets that wouldn’t cause Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos to lose any sleep.

In true Eco U tradition, these extremely sustainable projectiles were propelled by air pressure and contained grass seed, to “compost” upon landing. The prevailing winds blew all three rockets onto the roof of the building so they could be later reclaimed and repurposed as mementos of the event.

What was more remarkable was the rockets’ origins—created in the new maker’s space of The Edison Center within the Brown County STEM Innovation Center located on the UW- Green-Bay campus. A long name for a building and program a long time in the making.

Also true to UW-Green Bay’s “communiversity” roots was a nod gratitude to community members, from government, the private sector, not-for-profits, academia, staff and students.

It’s going to be a busy place—63,730 square feet with the College of Science, Engineering and Technology; Extension Brown County; Brown County’s Land and Water Conservation Department and The Einstein Project, all under one roof.

In his remarks, Joel Brennan, deputy in the Department of Administration spoke of the importance of the very unscientific but transformative power of generosity.

“The essence of generosity is when we’re doing things that future students, innovators and global problem-solvers that will not only touch Green Bay but be felt around the world.”

John Katers, twenty-plus year UW-Green Bay employee and dean of the college, commemorated the first day with a quick history lesson. “This is first new building put on this campus since 2001. Plus the Resch School of Engineering has been decades in the making. We were buying into a vision.”

He even offered extra credit to the students in attendance, “I see we have some students here today. They’re ringing the upper deck. They’re putting their trust in the University, too. Student success is our number one priority at the University of Green Bay.”

He must have meant it—he said it twice.

And if the Engineering students in attendance were feeling the pressure as 21st-century global problem solvers, they weren’t showing it. They were just happy to show off their cool new building to their guests. And with the School of Engineering hitting its five-year enrollment target in two years, there’s no sign of this upward trajectory trailing off any time soon.

Story by Michael Shaw; photo by Dan Moore