University of Utah mechanical engineering student Paige DaBell is motivated to help other students succeed. That’s why she’s one of the first residents to work and live in the newly-opened Lassonde Studios, a one-of-a-kind on-campus facility where students live, create their own products and start up new companies.

“I’ve always been passionate about helping people and connecting them with the things they need,” said DaBell one of the many U engineering students who are living and creating in the studio.

As the chairwoman of the Lassonde 400 Residential Program in the studio, DaBell organizes events such as meetups and workshops that can spark ideas and help entrepreneurial students kickstart their projects. Workshops will touch on subjects including hydroponics, Adobe software skills, lectures from industry experts, even the teamwork required to build your own bicycle.

The Lassonde Studios, which opened in September and has an open house Thursday, Sept. 22, is a $45-million facility by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute that allows any U student to come and collaborate with others on entrepreneurial projects. The 160,000-square-foot building has five floors that include open spaces for meetings, workshops for building prototypes, living quarters for up to 400 students and a café. The work areas include workbenches, 3-D printers, a laser cutter, power tools and more.

In it’s first year, more than 1,300 students applied to live in the studio. The 400 who were accepted are contracted to live there for one year and must reapply each year if they want to stay. It is open to undergraduate and graduate students.

“We were impressed by the quality of students who applied to join us and live at the Lassonde Studios. We think we have assembled one of the best groups of entrepreneurs anywhere,” said Troy D’Ambrosio, executive director of the Lassonde Institute. “We can’t wait to see what the Lassonde 400 accomplishes this year and in the future. We expect big things.”

According to the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, the largest number of students living in the facility come from the areas of business, engineering, computer science, video games and film, though students from any academic background may use its resources

“Engineering is a very active and essential participating group at Lassonde,” said Lassonde spokesman Thad Kelling. “But we’re interdisciplinary, and that’s been our core mission since the beginning.”

Major donors to the studios include gold investor Pierre Lassonde, who also is a major contributor to the institute; commercial airline entrepreneur David Neeleman; and the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation.

To learn more about the Lassonde Studios go to