On Saturday April 8th 2017, a dedicated and motivated group of 30+ volunteers came together at ASU’s Polytechnic campus and built 100 SolarSPELL digital libraries. This is the largest build in the history of the project! These libraries will go out with Peace Corps volunteers across the Pacific Islands of Vanuatu, Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia in the next few months.

The day began with a presentation by Prof. Laura Hosman, giving a background of the SolarSPELL project and an overview of appropriate technology for resource-constrained locations. During this presentation, the SolarSPELL university student team was busy getting the build area ready for the larger group.

The group then arrived in the build area and received a step-by-step walk-through of each stage of the build process, led by the SolarSPELL Hardware team lead and Build-Master of the day, Miles Mabey. Then everyone chose their station and jumped right in.

Some folks switched around to get a feel for another Build area, or if they finished with their aspect of the Build. There were many opportunities for hands-on activities, like wire-stripping, soldering, gluing, cutting, velcroing, heat-shrinking, and laminating.

The engineering students took advantage of the Build Day’s looming demands to learn about process engineering and then to create brand new building aids—jigs—for this build, that increased both speed and efficiency.

The SolarSPELL team was so pleased to welcome a team of students from ASU Prep high school. These STEM students were top-notch workers who stayed committed to the task throughout the day—we couldn’t have done it without them!

We also had significant representation from across ASU’s colleges, schools, and campuses, with volunteers coming from ASU Library, the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, The Polytechnic School, the School for Earth and Space Exploration, and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. ASU Alumni also came and rolled up their sleeves to help in the effort!

Stay tuned for updates from Vanuatu and Samoa as the SolarSPELL team travels there next month (May) for two extremely exciting implementation trips!

Photos were taken by Brooks McAllister, Bruce Baikie, and Laura Hosman.