Pumpkins and Power Tools, took place on Oct. 26 outside of Wilbur Powerhouse as a part of the Family Weekend festivities. Over 250 pumpkins were purchased for the event and registration filled up within only a few days, as Pumpkins and Power Tools is one of the most popular MakeX events held at Lehigh. (Yufei Zou/B&W Staff)

Wilbur Powerhouse hosts Pumpkins and Power Tools event


As a part of Lehigh’s Family Weekend festivities, students and their families tried new ways to carve pumpkins at Pumpkins and Power Tools, the third annual MakeX event on Oct. 26, outside of Wilbur Powerhouse. 

The concept for the event began at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2013 and was brought to Lehigh by Brian Slocum, managing director of Lehigh’s Design Labs.

MakeX, similar to initiatives LearnX and SprintX, gives students the opportunity to try new things and explore the many resources that Lehigh has to offer. 

Bill Whitney, the administrative director of the Office of Creative Inquiry, said the idea behind MakeX is being able to come away from the event having made something physical using an unfamiliar piece of equipment or tool.

“Most of (the MakeX events) are technical in nature and that’s why we partner with Wilbur Powerhouse,” Whitney said. “We try to hold a few (MakeX events) every semester.”

Slocum said he wants students to know more about the resources, such as 3D printers and laser cutting machines, which anyone at Lehigh can use at Wilbur Powerhouse.

“Carving pumpkins is making,” Slocum said. “And as silly as it sounds, getting people interested in doing that might get them interested in doing something else.”

Participants had the opportunity to use jigsaws, drills and other power tools to create intricate designs on their pumpkins. The creations ranged from typical jack-o’-lanterns, to funny sayings and realistic faces.

Some students attended the event to make Halloween decorations, while others wanted to learn more about how to use unfamiliar tools, like body saws and landscape augers.

Rosemarie Milelli, ‘23, heard about the event at her pre-dental club, which advertised Pumpkins and Power Tools as a way to become more familiar with using tools similar to those used by dentists.

“I learned that you have to have a really steady hand,” Milelli said. “But it’s a lot faster than carving by hand.”

Over 250 pumpkins were purchased for the event, and registration filled up within only a few days, as Pumpkins and Power Tools is one of the most popular MakeX events held at Lehigh.

Lizzy Nuzzi, ‘23, brought her entire family to the event as they celebrated family weekend. Her 14-year-old brother, Matthew, said he enjoyed using the tools to carve his pumpkin. Matthew used a body saw, a drill and an awl to create a pumpkin design with multiple faces.

Aside from participants and their families, the 50 students on staff at Wilbur Powerhouse were also present to assist with the use of the power tools. Slocum said he hopes through events like Pumpkins and Power Tools, other Lehigh students will feel comfortable asking his staff questions and getting to know them. 

Lehigh’s Design Labs will host similar events, such as a cookie cutter event at Christmas and a metal rose making event around Valentine’s Day. These events are designed to give students the opportunity to build in new and exciting ways.

Slocum said he hopes to see students come to learn more and have fun.

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