INFO Commons Campaign

Join us in developing the INFO Commons—the University of Maryland’s next great space—where students inspired by info, data, and tech can connect and discover.

 

Rendering of the INFO Commons Lounge

Rendering of the INFO Commons Lounge

Just steps below Hornbake Library’s hushed stacks and special collections, a new space promises a student experience that’s anything but common: a playground for concocting—and building—big ideas; a tinkering lab for exploring assistive tech and IoT; real, community-led projects to make cities smarter and stronger; a social outpost, where students dish about new coding over pizza, create viral-worthy TikToks, or vie for the new high score in Mario Kart.

INFO Commons is the University of Maryland College of Information Studies’ (INFO College’s) first bricks-and-mortar entry into the hands-on, creative world of information technology, on display through a dynamic patchwork of labs, amenities, and flexible space on the ground floor of Hornbake Library. A long-awaited community home for the INFO College students, faculty, and staff, the INFO Commons will give students the freedom—and a place—to make, connect, and discover.

“It’s about having a place in between home and school where students don’t have prescribed roles,” said Katherine Izsak, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. “It’s where playing is learning, and we know it works. They get their hands dirty and make those connections to what they’re learning in class. It’s dynamic and innovative, yes—but it’s also fun.”

“This space is not going to be neat, empty, or quiet, and that’s a good thing,” said Professor Wayne Lutters, Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives. “It’s a place for our students to come and feel like they belong, and a place they can call their own.”

At 25,000 square feet, the INFO Commons will offer a range of flexible spaces and unconventional programming to engage and support the INFO College community. A large “swing space” connects labs specializing in IoT, gaming and AR/VR, prototyping, design, community engagement, and accessibility, with proximity to student and career services. Access to two outdoor courtyards offer natural communal spaces for small projects, group meetings, or quiet studying. On any given day, there may be a human-computer interaction class in the design lab or a course on social media influencers; students may be piecing together a desktop model of the internet or getting tutoring support in the campus computation center; a group may be feverishly sketching an idea on a whiteboard in the design lab, while a sea of bean bag chairs beckon others to experiment with gaming design. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls put the INFO Commons’ action and energy on display, and hopefully will encourage others to join in.

The practical experience and engagement with technology and people does more than offer fertile ground for learning—it sets the stage for the future workplace students want to make, rather than the one they’ll inherit. Grounded in interdisciplinary and experiential learning that connects students with communities, industry, and their peers in other colleges, the INFO Commons models the cultural shift needed to build the innovative, equitable, and accessible systems that benefit the common good.

“That energy is contagious,” said Dean Keith Marzullo. “When I bring people in and show them students working, excited about what they’re learning and making, they want to be part of it. THIS is what the University of Maryland INFO College does.”

Featured Student Spaces

Rendering of the INFO Commons Design Studio and Prototyping Lab

Rendering of the INFO Commons Design Studio and Prototyping Lab

Learn More & Support

INFO Commons Kitchen

Rendering of the INFO Commons Kitchen

We’re just getting started. Here’s some more of what’s coming to the INFO Commons:

  • ALL, The Assistive Learning Lab, where students can test and try assistive technologies
  • Video/podcast start-up, with tutorials and equipment to make the next viral sensation
  • Library Preservation “Wet” Lab, providing space and tools to learn the art of preserving rare and historical books, maps, and other materials
  • Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Technology Warehouse, offering shared resources across USM

INFO Commons is underway—get in on the ground floor.

Learn about how you can support the University of Maryland INFO College’s newest community space through naming opportunities, sponsorship, and more. Contact Nancy Murray, Chief Development Officer, at or 301-405-2048 or nmurray@umd.edu.

 

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