Kean University Students Connect Design to Social Change

For Immediate Release: November 28, 2017 

UNION, N.J. — Robert Busch School of Design students in Kean University’s Michael Graves College learned what it takes to be a successful designer from one of the best in the business – Geoff Baldwin, senior design director for international design and consulting firm IDEO.org. Baldwin conducted his Design it All workshop, sharing his experiences as a designer, offering internship and career advice, and explaining how design can help bring about social change.

As an industrial designer, Baldwin has worked in a variety of mediums, including physical products, digital services and advertising. At IDEO.org, he guides teams and supports designers focused on the overlap between design and social change.

“Our goal as a company is to eradicate poverty,” said Baldwin. “To do that you have to design things that can help change people’s lives.”

Baldwin presented a series of guiding principles to the class with examples of how each manifested into his professional collaborations with Code and Theory, Samsung, Kounkuey Design Initiative, Otter Net and Ford.

“Start with context before content,” he told the students, something Baldwin says he applied in his work in Kenya with Konkuey Design Initiative. Together with officials in Nairobi, Baldwin and his team used flood data to design and reimagine the waterways in the slum communities surrounding Nairobi to build flood resilience.

“Your job as a designer is to take what someone already knows and help them look at it in a new way,” he said.

When the floor was opened for questions, most students showed interest in internship opportunities at IDEO.org. Baldwin advised them to be optimistic and bring something different to the table, as Kean design student Olu Odelawure of Hillside did when he applied for an internship at IDEO.

“We didn’t have anybody in the organization like Olu before he showed up,” he said, pointing out Odelawure in the class. “He brought a different point of view, perspective and enthusiasm.”

“Interning at IDEO was an eye-opening experience for me as an individual and as a designer,” said Odelawure. “Geoff gave me the confidence to do more than just design.”

Welcoming presenters like Baldwin, who are passionate about change and the meaning of design, is an example of the effort Michael Graves College at Kean University has made to make architectural and design education meaningful to a wider audience.

PHOTO/CAPTION:

Senior Design Director for IDEO.org, Geoff Baldwin shared his experience as a designer with Kean University's Robert Busch School of Design students. 

ABOUT KEAN UNIVERSITY

Founded in 1855, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving nearly 15,000 students. The University’s five undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers four doctoral degree programs and more than 60 options for graduate study leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union and Toms River, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education. Visit www.kean.edu.

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Press Contact: 

Margaret McCorry

Director of Media Relations

Kean University

mmccorry@kean.edu

(908) 737-0583

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