Over 80 switches laid out on a table.

The Makers Making Change chapter in Southern Ontario held a successful first build event at Western University on March 24.

Forty Occupational Therapy students at Western participated in the build, each making at least one raindrop switch and a light touch switch — over 80 switches.

“It went really well,” says chapter leader Jordana Bengall. “A lot of them were a little bit hesitant, didn’t know what to expect, but I think once they got through the first switch, they were sort of experts by the second switch, and had a lot of confidence with it.”

Jordana, an occupational therapist at Bluewater Health in Sarnia, is an alumnus of Western herself, a 2020 graduate of the occupational therapy program.

While a student at Western, she learned about Makers Making Change and got involved, eventually starting her own chapter.

“I would say the chapter is in its starting phases, making connections, figuring out where we’re going with this, but there’s definitely lots of interest,” she explains.

The students really enjoyed the experience, getting some hands-on experience while helping others.

“The students were really, really interested and really excited to be doing something hands on,” she says.

“I got a ton of positive feedback. I put out a survey afterwards, just cause I like having maybe a little bit more quantifiable stuff to reflect on, but all the feedback that I got from the survey was people saying things like ‘It was the best thing I did all year,’ ‘This was the best workshop we had.’”

While this semester is wrapping up, Jordana is hoping to do a build event at least once a year with Western University, if not more.

“The one thing I would like to add in is a huge, huge, huge thank you to Stewart Russell, because he made this happen. I know he really wanted to make the event happen when I was a student, and then he was committed and on-board to make it happen this time around. He helped deliver all the kits, he donated a 3D printer and all the kits to Western so that they can have builds in the future, and he really just facilitated all of that.”