The Makings of MAD Studio
Sometimes a simple conversation can spur a big idea. One Thursday evening, Sanjay Zimmermann ’15 was alone in Park Manor South’s common area doing something unusual on the night before the weekend—homework. Surprised to see him, Michele Oshima, director of the Sorenson Center for the Arts, stopped to chat. The conversation turned to film, a passion of Zimmermann’s, and he talked about how he wished Babson had a place where students could sign out video equipment and do production.
Illustration: Noah Woods/theispot.com
Oshima knew another student, Nick Kim ’15, who wanted access to graphics design hardware and software. So she brought the two together. “Nick and I thought it would be cool to have a place where students could go and use these tools. You do all these projects at Babson, and you want to do something that will really stand out,” says Zimmermann. “We said, how do we make this happen?”
To find other interested students, the two formed a club. The group then put together a list of what they wanted in a media center, and Zimmermann soon found himself in Dean Bob Halsey’s office, pitching the studio. Halsey liked it, so after more meetings and with support from faculty, staff, and students, the Media and Design (MAD) Studio opened last fall.
Located on the main floor of the library, the studio has three Macs, three PCs, a tablet, a DSLR camera and supporting equipment, the Adobe Creative Suite, and Apple’s Final Cut software. The students behind MAD Studio also offer consulting services to other students, teaching them how to use the equipment and software. “We didn’t want it to be just a room,” says Zimmermann. “That was one of our core principles. We didn’t want to put all this money into the equipment and have a room sitting there collecting dust because students didn’t know how to use it.”
Amy Malinowski ’13, who joined the MAD team after Halsey introduced her, ranks as one of the studio’s most popular consultants. Having studied at the Rhode Island School of Design via her Weissman Scholar stipend, Malinowski knows a lot of the software well. She has helped train other MAD consultants and advised the group on marketing. “It’s been great finding all of this talent on campus,” she says. “For people who thought they wouldn’t have the resources to do this kind of work at Babson, who thought they’d have to let that side of them go, it’s been an opportunity to keep exploring.”
During the first semester, 172 students signed in to use the studio (more have used it without signing in), and MAD consultants held 108 appointments. Six consultants are receiving professional training on Adobe Creative Suite, and the club plans to keep enhancing the studio. “There’s not many schools where you can go and talk to your dean and get a project started like this,” says Zimmermann. “It’s one of the things I love about Babson.”—Donna Coco