Noyonika Parulekar, Staff

The Hatchery, a student innovation center located at Emory Point, is set to open by mid- to late February, according to inaugural Director Shannon Clute. The project is part of the Office of the Provost’s initiative to advance the “One Emory: Engaged for Impact” strategic framework which was adopted in September 2018.

The University leased the building at Emory Point on 1578 Avenue Place, which previously housed Earth Fare supermarket. Initial work on the conceptual design with architects began in February 2019, according to Deputy Provost for Academic Affairs and Professor of Philosophy Christa Acampora (97G). Construction officially began in June 2019, and a certificate of occupancy was awarded in December 2019.

More than half of The Hatchery’s funding comes from the One Emory project while the rest came from the University’s other school divisions, according to Acampora. Concrete numbers surrounding the center’s total cost were not provided.

“Each of the deans and the schools and colleges have also committed resources to supporting the center, so it really is an activity that is supported by all of Emory,” Acampora said. “It might be one of the few, if not the only, academic spaces connected with campus that is really for all students, all schools.”

The creation of The Hatchery links most closely with One Emory’s third pillar, “Innovation through Scholarship and Creative Expression,” according to Acampora, who serves as the administrative lead for The Hatchery.

An assessment done on existing innovation and entrepreneurship programs across Emory concluded that such programs have lacked focus and attention on Emory’s campus, according to Clute.

The Hatchery is equipped to facilitate conversation, ideas and projects early in the innovation process, with the hope that it can become a source of support for those who don’t already have an idea they want to work on.

The Hatchery’s occupancy capacity is approximately 300 people, and it includes an open event space that can hold 119 people. Clute said that the event space is designed to host events such as entrepreneurship programs that are currently held at the Goizueta Business School. 

The space does not include heavy machinery such as 3D printers to intentionally avoid replicating setups at other centers throughout the University, like Cox Hall Computing Center’s TechLab. A central “makerspace” is equipped with board games such as Settlers of Catan and Monopoly and maker sets like K’Nex toys and Meccano sets.

The innovation center will be accessible to all University students, according to Clute. The majority of the center’s space will be available for walk-in visitors, but there will also be reservable spaces available. Clute hopes that when students book spaces, they will take advantage of the specific resources it offers rather than using it as another study space available on campus.

In an effort to be sustainable, original labels and overhead light fixtures from Earth Fare have been repurposed in The Hatchery. A “cafe” sign leads students to the unofficial break room that will have free coffee, and a room in the back features a ping pong table to facilitate kinetic learning, according to Clute.

The Hatchery’s staff will include an administrative assistant and a programming manager, and the hiring process is expected to be completed by the end of February. Two committees — the governance committee and the programming council — are also being formed. Each committee will have its own duties in the functioning of The Hatchery.

“[The governance committee] is related to the higher-level questions of strategic charter and use of the funds,” Clute said. “The other is the programming council, which will be composed of faculty and staff and potentially some students, that will lay down some general guidelines for best practices around the use of space.”

Co-President of Emory Entrepreneurship and Venture Management (EEVM) Veena Jaipradeep (21B) attended an event on Jan. 30 hosted by Clute as a grand opening of The Hatchery to the Emory University Board of Trustees.

Emory-based wearable tech company Vimband, DooleyHacks by HackEmory, the Emory Impact Investing Group and EEVM’s Oxford College counterpart OxVentures were among the other organizations that were invited to the event.

“I am excited to see different events that they put in the space more than just how it can be used as a casual study space for Emory Point students because I know their goal is to actually make the space an innovative center,” Jaipradeep said.

Correction (2/17/2020 at 6 p.m.): A previous version of this article stated that 3D printers are located in Cox Hall Computing Center’s MediaLab. In fact, they are located in Cox Hall Computing Center’s TechLab.