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Chris Stazinski ’16 Co-Working & Entrepreneurship in South Bend

 

StazinskiBefore we get started, I want to thank the Lilly Endowment, Inc. for providing funding my internship experience this summer and for many other Wabash men. Without that funding, such an opportunity would be lost for many of us. Talking to students from other colleges I have realized how lucky we are to have an organization like that on our side.
My experience at Union Station Technology Center (USTC) in South Bend this summer was nothing short of unique. USTC is the largest data center in Indiana and a top 40 carrier hotel in the nation, and the primary model of Infrastructure as a Service allows the company to provide storage and high-speed connectivity for businesses ranging in size from small and local to large and national. The goal this summer for myself and my coworker, Kevin Yan ’15, and was to design a co-working studio – the Depot – within the Union Station building, and then market and recruit people to work inside of it. The Depot is to be a hub of collaboration and mutual development among freelancers, independent consultants, and entrepreneurs.
In doing research on other successful co-working studios, we were lucky enough to be welcomed into MatchBOX in Lafayette and Launch Fishers in Fishers. It was a great opportunity to network with others with a similar goal and ask questions about how they became successful. In developing the Depot, we had to utilize our liberal arts education because the tasks varied greatly. Among other things, a few of our tasks were designing the layout of the space, creating the logo for the Depot, and building and managing the website. We also created various documents such as the membership agreement and the terms of use. We were also constantly reaching out to others in the community and planning events for the Depot to gather members.
I learned a few lessons from this internship. The first and foremost lesson is the importance of having a plan and set goals. A couple times we started on a task and then lost our way. When that happened, we had to restart and tweak our approach, but it was something that could have been avoided by having several smaller benchmark goals. Another lesson that was emphasized this summer is to manage your network and utilize the connections you have. It has also stressed to me the importance of being a reliable contact myself, because how can you expect others to help you if you are not willing to help them. In all, it was a very educational internship that taught me much about entrepreneurship and will help guide my endeavors after college. Once again, thank you to Wabash and the Lilly Endowment for making this possible.