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Feb042013

Green Week Ushers in spring at Pratt

Carolyn Schaeberle, assistant director, CSDS, presented “Eco-Design and Life-Cycle Analysis: Strategies, Tools, and Case Studies," arguing that it is critical for designers to be talking about sustainability.

Pratt kicked off spring with the Institute’s tenth annual Green Week, a series of events, exhibitions, and workshops about sustainability and entrepreneurship.

Between March 22-29, a highlight of Green Week was the third annual Sustainability Crash Course, a free, day-long event focused on sustainable design. More than 20 presenters—from inside and outside Pratt—discussed topics ranging from ecology and biomimicry to packaging design. The Center for Sustainable Design Studies (CSDS) organized the event, which drew nearly twice as many attendees as last year’s gathering.

A particularly well-attended talk was “Eco-Design and Life-Cycle Analysis: Strategies, Tools, and Case Studies” presented by Carolyn Schaeberle, CSDS assistant director. For Schaeberle, it is critical to be talking about sustainability with designers.

The School of Architecture exhibited a number of projects looking at sustainability as part of Green Week."Designers are the ones who are building the environments that we are living in, making the cars, constructing the buildings, designing the cities,” Schaeberle urged the audience. “It is up to us designers to get smarter about the decisions that we are making. CSDS's role at a design institution is to arm our future designers with the information to make those decisions.”

A few more high points: Dan Wright, assistant professor, Math and Science Department, discussed actionable ways that New York City can reduce its carbon footprint by 90 percent in 2050. Carl A. Zimring, associate professor, Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies, gave a historical overview of upcycling, a process that diverts materials from the waste stream and enhances their value, with special emphasis to aluminum’s use in design.

Debera Johnson, CSDS executive director, moderated the closing keynote panel on how city residents can bring about change in the world. Participants included: Mary McBride, chair, design management; Adam Friedman, director, Pratt Center for Community Development; and Yeohlee Teng, fashion designer.

All panelists stressed the role that individuals can play in changing society. Friedman discussed a Pratt Center program to retrofit low-income community housing. Capitalizing on the redundancy of housing types, the city adopted the program in other neighborhoods. Fashion Department instructors Van Lupu and Kelly Horrigan had their students create for Deconstruct & Reconstruct, an exhibit was curated by Rachel Miller.Teng is part of a greater movement that is gaining traction in the city that advocates for manufacturing in New York. McBride challenged the term “consumer,” noting that people that are “friends” and “followers” of companies expect more and carry greater power. She spoke about her personal path towards change in the interest of social justice.

Organized by Tetsu Ohara, visiting assistant professor, Department of Interior Design, and coordinator of the Pratt Environmental Coalition, Green Week closed with the announcement of the 2013 Student Leadership in Sustainability Award, given to graduating students. The winners are Casey Daurio (B.I.D. ’13), Jacquelyn Morris (M.S. Interior Design ’13), and Leonel Lima Ponce (M.S. Urban Environmental Systems Management ’13). Nominated by fellow students or faculty members, the recipients will be acknowledged at the Graduation Awards Convocation Ceremony.

To learn more about the Crash Course and see video highlights, click here.

Text: Bay Brown, Amy Aronoff
Photos: Tetsu Ohara


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