Foisie Building at WPI

A New Building Opens Endless Possibilities

September 17, 2018

Any new addition to WPI's campus is cause for celebration. But the Foisie Innovation Studio and Messenger Residence Hall's ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 13 was about much more than fêting the completion of the building.

As the physical embodiment of the WPI Plan, the 78,000 sq. ft. residential and classroom facility was created specifically to encourage collaboration, experimentation, and discovery. It also holds a lot of dreams (not to mention some amazing views), so we asked a few people at the ribbon cutting to reflect on what this building means for WPI students and its place in the WPI story. Here's what they had to say. 

"This is transformative. You can just walk in here and feel the energy. That energy is going to be inspiring for students to want to be in the space and collaborate and learn, but it also offers them the tools to do that. It’s an amazing combination." –– Matt Beaton ’01, Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

During his formal remarks at the event, he jokingly added, "I have this vision in my mind of a student popping out of bed...and running down to a makerspace and playing with something and creating who knows what. They need their sleep, I know, but it will happen. I guarantee it."

"I think this building, and having something so cutting-edge on campus, does a lot to inspire students. It’s one thing to hear of things going on in the world to inspire people, but it’s another thing to have it right here where we are learning and living." ––Sarah Boecker ’19, mechanical engineering and international & global studies; President, Student Government Association

"This is built in the WPI tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship. Now we have a place where students can really take these ideas, both from courses and non-courses, and make it happen. You can feel the energy. It solidifies the university’s commitment to entrepreneurship." –– Jack Mollen, Chair, WPI Board of Trustees

"I think it’s going to be the premier gathering space for our students. I think they will find themselves coming together in ways they never imagined when they were meeting in the campus center or in classrooms. It will bring them together and spark a creativity that only happens in a space like this. It’s so inspiring." –– Linda Looft, Assistant Vice President for Government and Community Affairs

"The makerspace is so open, and it’s going to make working on projects so much easier." –– Devin Hainsworth ’20, chemical engineering (left)

"It makes it easy for us. There are lockers, so we can store our projects. Before we would have to move our things back and forth to wherever we were working. Now it’s all in one place."––Gabriella Fiorentino ’20, biochemistry (center)

"This space is so open. The robotics lab is for everyone, so if we want to learn those things and we aren’t robotics majors we still can. It’s really for everyone." ––Shravani Balaji ’20, biochemistry (right)

"I think the beauty of this building is that it has been designed with every WPI student in mind. It’s not discipline-specific. It’s not major-specific. It’s not interest-specific. It’s designed for all WPI students to use throughout their entire WPI career." ––Philip Clay, Vice President for Student Affairs

"It’s a great place. I’m really excited to see what comes out of the robotics lab and everything they have in there. It’s a really cool building. And there are a lot of people who meet here. People like to sit on the steps. There are new spaces to meet." —Zachary Berry ‘20, computer science

"This is a learning environment for students to expand new ideas. It’s such a modern collaborative space for studying and working groups." –– Caroline Bartlett ‘16

"This brings the current campus and the students up-to-date with a very modern building. I also like how the other side of the campus has one of the oldest buildings with Sanford Riley right across from the newest facility." ––Glenn Yee ’74, WPI Board of Trustees Emeriti

"I think the biggest impact is the rapid prototype lab. It’s absolutely fantastic. So many students have such incredible ideas and this is a way they can bring them to life." –– Kyle Young, MS candidate; President, Graduate Student Government

"This is the most wonderful thing for students I have ever seen. To have all this right here—it inspires people to be creative and innovative. What an opportunity for students." — Sharon Deffley, Executive Director of Academic and Corporate Development (center)

"This space will facilitate collaboration as well as exploration."— Matt Correa ’12 (MS), U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) (right)