Re-Opening Updates for The Garage

Aug 25, 2020

Updated September 22, 2020As a center of innovation, we will practice what we preach and be as creative as we can during this time to keep our community thriving. Our goal is to maintain the connections that make The Garage so special - and most of that will remain virtual during Northwestern's phased return to campus. All of our programming will be accessible online to accommodate our entire community. For the all of the latest updates regarding university-wide efforts and guidelines for re-opening, please visit Northwestern’s COVID-19/Coronavirus updates website.Based on current guidelines place, we will safely and slowly pilot re-opening our space to a limited group of Northwestern students who have been pre-approved by staff and are members of The Garage's Residency Program only. Therefore, 24/7 access will remain turned off for all other students, faculty, and Entrepreneurs-In-Residence (EIRs).The Garage staff will be staggering on-site shifts during the week, M-F. Staff are on site to monitor the small group of students with access to the space to ensure all guidelines are followed. Both staff and students granted access to The Garage have accepted a set of rules and regulations they are expected to follow, in addition to the University's guidelines. While we hope to re-open The Garage further in the future, we are confident that a small on-site community is the safest course of action. Is The Garage space open?

  • No. The big garage door is down, limiting access to our space for the safety and health of our community. Only a small subset of students who are members of The Garage’s Residency Program and who are pre-approved by staff will be granted 24/7 access to our space. We have moved all of our operations and events to a virtual format to accommodate our full community.
  • For all other students, staff, faculty, and guests: The Garage is not open for drop in hours or classes.
  • Students with on-site access have been asked to adhere to strict rules and regulations, in addition to Northwestern's guidelines in place, and are expected to wear masks at all times, are not allowed to bring guests to The Garage, and must leave the furniture where it has been arranged to ensure social distancing is followed.
  • We have removed 24/7 access via Wildcards to The Garage for all students except a small subset of pre-approved Residents.
  • Experts, mentors, EIRs, volunteers, Office Hours providers, etc. are required to work off-site and conduct all meetings virtually.
  • We reserve the right to close The Garage again if we feel that is safest for our community of students and our staff.
  • In-person tours are not being offered at this time. Check out our video walk through of The Garage until we can welcome tours again.

How can I get involved with The Garage remotely?

  • There are still lots of ways to get involved with entrepreneurship at The Garage virtually! For example, we will continue to hold our popular quarterly event, Startup Matchmaking, virtually along with other events like Founder Talks and panels with recent alumni.
  • Peers and alumni are offering Office Hours virtually. This is a great way to learn how to navigate The Garage's resources and get advice on how to move forward.
  • Many student organizations have worked hard to develop online programming. EPIC, Northwestern's student-run entrepreneurship club, is accepting new students now.

What programs are The Garage running this year?

  • We are excited to be running The Tinker Program, The Residency Program, and all of our cohort programs (Propel, Little Joe Ventures, Wildfire Pre-Accelerator) virtually. Applications to join The Tinker Program are open all year! Residency applications open on a quarterly basis. Sign up for The Garage's monthly newsletter to be notified when applications open next time.

Is The Sardine Bar open?

  • No. Only pre-approved EIRs of The Sardine Bar are able to access the downtown space at this time. We have made adjustments to the space to ensure they are able to work safely.
  • We are still fostering the online community downtown! You're welcome to sign up for The Sardine Bar weekly newsletter, rounding up virtual events in and around Chicago, at

Is The Garage still holding events?

  • Yes! We have moved all of our events to a virtual format. Please check The Garage Events page for an updated list of upcoming virtual events. Please note that some events require registration via Zoom in advance.

Is The Garage SF open?

  • To adhere to university guidelines and ensure all member of our community are safe and healthy, the physical space in SF is currently closed and The Garage SF EIRs are working off-site, however, we are still engaging with our alumni based in SF virtually through newsletters and events. To learn more about The Garage SF, sign up for The Garage SF weekly newsletter at:

Is The Garage still offering Office Hours?

  • Yes! We are still offering Office Hours in a virtual format with our incredible network of students, alumni, staff, and EIRs. Please check our Office Hours page to see what's coming up.

Will I get updates from The Garage?

  • If you are a member of The Garage community through a program, please continue to check our website and your email regularly for communications from The Garage. Residents, Tinkerers, members of The Sardine Bar, and EIRs will retain their current access to Slack, where we will be posting updates regularly for our community and encourage you to ask questions of the staff at any time.

As our situation changes and evolves, we look forward to working together in new and innovative ways. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email us at

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