RIDE Center- FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Research, Innovation, Design & Entrepreneurial (RIDE) Center located?

The RIDE Center is located in Parenzo 110, on the first floor of Parenzo Hall on the Westfield State University Campus. For easiest access, use the front doors of the building, and you will see our space on the lefthand side. There are visitor parking spots located in front of the building.

Who is allowed to use the RIDE Center?

The RIDE Center is open to all Westfield State University students, faculty, staff and community members. In the WSU RIDE Center, it is our main goal to help and assist as many students, faculty, and staff with their projects. However, we do have limited resources and staffing, therefore academic projects will come first.

For workshops and special events held in the RIDE Center, students will be able to sign up ahead of time.  

For questions on utilizing the space, please contact RIDE Center Executive Director Dr. Lamis Jarvinen ljarvinen@westfield.ma.edu.

What are the RIDE Center policies that all members/guests are expected to follow?

All members and guests are required to act according to Westfield State University shared values while in the RIDE Center:  

  • Be respectful to everyone.  
  • Clean up after yourself/your guests.  
  • Return all equipment/tools to the proper space when finished. 
  • Practice safety.  
  • Always ask for help when needed. 

Beyond these shared core values, please keep in mind the health and safety rules for the RIDE Center: 

  • Do not, under any circumstances, use any equipment you are not trained on.  
  • Do not, under any circumstances, utilize any 3D printers, laser cutters, resin printers, or soldering equipment without a RIDE Center staff member or Student Ambassador present.  
  • No food allowed in any of the general workspaces, and all drinks must be in closed, sealed containers. If you wish to have a snack or meal, please do so at any of the large tables in the common area, or in the lounge area near the circulation desk.  
  • The RIDE Center is not a production studio, and you are not permitted to make any objects that you intend to sell for profit. You are welcome to prototype in the RIDE Center, but please contact a staff member if you wish to take any of your ideas to the next step.  
  • All equipment/machinery in the RIDE Center requires safety training/tutorials with a trained staff member or Student Ambassador. Once you have stamps on your Skills Badge, you are free to use the equipment on your own during normal operating hours.  

The following are mandatory for all individuals while working with power tools:  

  • Closed-toe, flat shoes must be worn at all times.  
  • Long pants are required; long sleeves recommended.  
  • Eye/ear protection must be worn at all times.  
  • Long hair must be tied back.  
  • No loose jewelry or clothing is permitted.  
  • Never utilize power tools when you are feeling sick, tired, distracted, under the influence or alcohol or prescription or recreational drugs, or feeling any less than fully functional.  
  • Under no circumstance are cell phones allowed to be used when operating a power tool. Cell phones should remain on the counter/table when not in use, and RIDE Center members must make sure all equipment is off/secure before using a cell phone while working on a project.  

Using the RIDE Center is a privilege, and if you partake in any behavior that is dangerous or illegal, use equipment without permission/required training, or behave disruptively or disrespectfully, disciplinary measures will be taken. These may include revoking access or requiring further training and supervision for RIDE Center projects in the future.  

To ensure the RIDE Center runs smoothly on a day to day basis, staff and Student Ambassadors need to know what is happening at all times. If something is broken or you accidentally break something, report it to the staff. This is not a reflection of you doing anything wrong, and is simply imperative to ensure everyone’s safety in the long run.

Why do I have to gain keycard access to the RIDE Center outside of normal operating hours, and what happens if I want to use the space but can’t get in?

The RIDE Center strives to welcome individuals from across the WSU campus and to provide reliable access and staffing for all tools and equipment present. In order to ensure the safety of the RIDE Center and our campus community, it is critical that we keep our space secure and only allow registered individuals to enter in and out.

For the most part, RIDE Center staff members or Student Ambassadors will be present in the lab during normal operating hours to assist you, and keycard access will not be necessary. 

What kind of training do I need to use the RIDE Center?

What kind of training you will need to take part in depends largely on what you are trying to build! The first step is to discuss your goals with one of the RIDE Center staff members or Student Ambassadors, and they can help you understand what you need to learn in order to be successful. In some cases, they may be able to help you right away with getting your Skills Badge and beginning your training!  

All individuals are welcome during normal operating hours to come and ask questions regarding how to use equipment in the space, such as 3d printers, laser cutters or resin printers. Many hand tools in the general workspace are available without specific training, but any soldering equipment or power tools will require training before use for safe operation. 

The best way to learn how to utilize RIDE Center equipment is to attend a training session or workshop with a RIDE Center staff member or Student Ambassador. By doing so, you will be able to gain colorful stamps on your Skills Badge and therefore use all equipment without the supervision of a trained staff member. Our goal is to keep the RIDE Center open for all individuals without heavy or strenuous training required, but this is only possible if everyone practices safety and tools are handled properly. Therefore, all students, faculty, staff and academic classes must register for an orientation tour, in order to have an opportunity to talk to RIDE Center staff about what they want to do.  

What kind of projects can I make in the RIDE Center?

Individuals using the RIDE Center are permitted to make and prototype anything that is legal, safe, and not being sold directly for profit. The following items are prohibited under any and all circumstances:  

  • Weapons or drug paraphernalia.  
  • Projects or prototypes where the making, testing, or operation could cause injury or property damage.  
  • Projects or prototypes that violate copyright or other intellectual property laws/guidelines. 

You may not, under any circumstances, run a business out of the WSU RIDE Center. Prototypes and original projects are welcome, and you are encouraged to pursue intellectual property rights in accordance with Westfield State University policy if you wish to do so.  

Can I work on a class project in the RIDE Center?

Yes, you can, and as an academic workspace we encourage you to do so! All students, faculty and staff of WSU are welcome to use the RIDE Center for all academic needs as space permits. While the RIDE Center is available for personal work on occasion, academic needs will always take priority on a case-by-case basis.  

Can I make fundraising products for a student organization, class, or specific office/department?

Absolutely! Simply follow the guidelines below: 

  • Student organizations, faculty or office/department will pay for all materials used, and any equipment usage fees as applicable.  
  • Copyrighted images or other copyrighted content outside of WSU are forbidding, unless written permission is received.  
  • All revenue from sales of these products must be given directly to the student/faculty organization or office/department conducting the fundraising. 
Can I request a RIDE Center staff member or Student Ambassador to make something for me?

No; the RIDE Center is a teaching/training/prototyping space and does not take orders or build on behalf of any student, faculty, or department. However, we are more than happy to schedule a time to work with any individuals to create a design and train as needed to help bring your ideas to life.

What happens if I break something, or a machine/piece of equipment is malfunctioning?

In all cases of equipment malfunction, failure, or user error, the most important thing is for the RIDE Center member using the piece of equipment to tell a staff member or Student Ambassador as soon as possible. All members should try their hardest not to break things, and also practice common sense in terms of being aware of their surroundings. If something breaks it is okay—but let’s all do our part to keep the RIDE Center in it’s best shape at all times! 

How safe is the Research, Innovation, Design & Entrepreneurial (RIDE) Center?

First and foremost, safety is the primary goal of the RIDE Center and the surrounding WSU campus. Our center does contain sharp tools and dangerous power tools, as well as equipment that could produce burns or harmful fumes, but we are confident that our training will help students, faculty, and staff utilize the space with the best safety practices in place. These include, but are not limited to: eye/ear protection, proper ventilation, and exhaust routes for specific machinery.  

In addition, safety training is required for all equipment, and some equipment requires supervision/a staff member to be present in the RIDE Center even after training. Practicing cleaning up after ourselves, putting tools away properly, and alerting staff about anything unusual will all help to keep our space safe and operating smoothly.  

The RIDE Center, located in Parenzo Hall, also has an emergency exit at the back of the space in the event of an emergency. All windows/glass walls are also bulletproof, to ensure the safety of all individuals regardless of circumstances. We also have 2 state-of-the-art first aid kits on site, to aid in addressing any minor injuries right away. 

Are there classes taught in the RIDE Center?

It is a main goal of the RIDE Center to bring as many students and faculty to our center throughout the Fall and Spring semesters to introduce them to the many resources available to them right here on campus to bring their ideas to life.  Many faculty and staff may choose to hold a class or two in the center if their students are interested, but always check with your professors beforehand. 

How do I host events (faculty) or reserve space (students/faculty) in the RIDE Center?

In addition to individual students and faculty, academic courses, student organizations, and campus clubs are welcome to request visits or workshops in the RIDE Center. 

Are non-academic departments permitted to use the RIDE Center?

In the RIDE Center, collaboration is fundamental to our mission and core values. If you or your department would like to hold a one-time or regular workshop in the space, in addition to any other event, we very much would like to accommodate your request to the best of our abilities. We also will be hosting team-building projects, HackaThons, and other events scattered throughout the semester to help boost student and faculty engagement across the entire Westfield State University campus community.  

If you or your department are looking to host an event in our space, please reach out to RIDE Center Executive Director Dr. Lamis Jarvinen ljarvinen@westfield.ma.edu.

How do I volunteer/get involved?

Are you a student interested in a Work Study position, internship or starting a club? Or a faculty/staff member looking to run a workshop or train students in a specific skill? Contact RIDE Center Executive Director Dr. Lamis Jarvinen ljarvinen@westfield.ma.edu.

Campus Globe against cloudy blue sky

Contact Us

Lamis Jarvinen, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Research, Innovation, Design, and Entrepreneurial Center
Parenzo 110