Beyond Interdisciplinary

For a long time Olin has used the word “interdisciplinary” to describe our curriculum, but I think it’s time to stop. Being interdisciplinary was new and exciting for schools 20 years ago, but now it is routine. Olin should be one step ahead while everyone else is catching up – we should be working on the next thing. And the next thing is “postdisciplinary.”

To explain what that means, I’ll use the analogy of racial integration. In an integrated society, people from different racial groups live together peacefully. In a postracial society, the fact that different types of people live together doesn’t even have a name; that is just how it is, and how it always should have been.

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Under Utilized Resources

This month, Frankly Speaking posed the question “What is one resource available to Olin students that is massively under utilized?” to the student body of Olin.

IT Resources! Everything from stuweb (Olin-hosted webspace!), to the Cable TV in the dorms, to all the shares (like stufac or your network-wide private user folder. Check out \\fsvs01 sometime!). Judging by the amount of unclaimed print jobs I see daily, very few people do ‘secure printing’ on the Xeroxes. And see the software on Applications (ECEs, we have DipTrace!). Beyond all that, we have a fantastic network everywhere on campus with Gigabit, powered ethernet and a new, whole-campus wifi network. And the IT Helpdesk is open 8-6 on weekdays to help with almost any issue you may have. Check out to see everything that you can do!
– Mitch Cieminski

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Green Space: November 2013

Green Space is for anyone who wants to contribute to or learn about green initiatives at Olin and the world. Want to submit an article about green initiatives? Please do! Want to learn how you can make a difference in your own life or at Olin? Easy! Want to learn about cool things people are doing at Olin (and elsewhere) to reduce our impact on the environment and improve sustainable technologies?

Dude, we got you covered. So please, read on and listen well, because, you know, this is your world too.

A better place
As a “Little Known Fact” from the last Frankly Speaking pointed out, it is very easy to get caught up in the Olin bubble in an alarming way. There is so much going on here at Olin that one can forget to pay attention to anything else, from current events to struggling with what we want to work for.

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GrOW’s Current Initiatives

By Gabrielle Ewall, David Pudlo, Ruby Spring

GrOW is reinvigorating itself this year. We’ve got some big ideas and projects that we’re going to push for, so we’re keeping you, the student body, informed as to what’s going on and how you can get involved. Below are updates on our current initiatives, if you have any questions, contact David Pudlo.

The Olin Secret Garden
Over the summer, a few students created the Olin Secret Garden in the middle of Parcel B! We’re experimenting, trying to learn what we can grow here in MA, and seeing what it takes to build a garden from the ground up. We’ve already had some successful harvest, basil, kale, and corn. Make sure to stop by and check it out, it’s near the trebuchet (and feel free to grab a bit of basil or kale!). In the future, we’re looking into wintering structures and a rainwater collection system, as well as (of course) more yummy plants! Go to to follow our progress.

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Shower Heads at Olin: Fun Facts

In the short survey I sent out a few days ago for IPD, I asked students to guess how many gallons a typical 10 minute shower uses.

Corey Cavicchi, Olin’s Associate Plant Manager, has informed me that Olin shower heads have a 2.5 gallon per minute flow (the maximum federal regulatory standard since 1994), but that facilities is “planning to install 1.5 GPM shower heads over Thanksgiving break.”

Based on this information, an average 10-minute shower uses 25 gallons of water now, but will use only 15 gallons of water after the anticipated change.

The Business Side of Start-ups

Back in March when Amos and I applied to the MassChallenge accelerator program, we had a cool idea, some initial feedback from potential customers, and a POE-level prototype showing that we could really build a usable bathroom scale for people in wheelchairs. However, when we were accepted into the program and started talking to people, it turned out that there was a lot more to learn about “the business side of things” than we thought. It’s not as simple as just building a product and selling it in an online store, and crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter are not as effective unless you’re selling to engineers (like Technical Machine) or the general population (like 3Doodler). Here are some of the major things we have internalized in the past four months of running a business:

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the one who moves

You are the one who moves
Who can’t sit still
There are too many tools to grab
Too many races to run
Too many sources of brilliance in this world
And you want to know them all
You want to feel the burn of your soul as it struggles to find new meaning
Its sinews stretching
Skin sweating
It will ache tomorrow
But grow back stronger

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