A student group that started at Northwestern University has been using design thinking in their local communities, looking for opportunities in the everyday lives of their neighbors. Design for America was started by undergraduates at Northwestern working with Liz Gerber, a former d.schooler who’s now a professor of Mechanical Engineering. The idea has spread to Dartmouth and Cornell.
“Students on campus tend to live in a bubble, it’s the same here at Northwestern as it is at Stanford. There are so many problems facing the people in the neighborhoods right around us, but we rarely get out to see that,” says Mert Iseri, a Northwestern student who helped found the chapter there. “We want to bring students together who are interested in using design thinking to create change in their own back yards.”
Mert’s interest in Design for America peaked when he went home to Turkey for winter break and realized he could use design to help solve an ancient problem:
If you’re interested in starting a chapter here at Stanford, or at another campus, contact firstname.lastname@example.org Design for America is also hosting a contest for designs that make conserving water easier than wasting it. The deadline is June 1, and the best ideas will win $1,000.
Check out their website, www.thebetteralternative.org, for more information.