Prior to this course I thought sustainability was all about conserving energy, using less paper and plastic, and recycling. Boy was I wrong! As I reflect on my sustainable journey over this semester it is funny how much I have changed in my daily life without even realizing it. While the things I have changed may not be extravagant in any way, they are just that, changes.

I won’t lie, when we started this course I was frustrated because I couldn’t see how merchandisers could promote sustainability when they are trying to get consumers to buy more stuff. It doesn’t seem to make sense? However, one of the things I have always struggled with regarding this field is materialism. I have seen it effect some of my close friends and family members and they don’t even realize it. When I decided to study merchandising I was afraid of it taking a tole on me as well but I can confidently say I feel like it will not be a problem for me. I have noticed, without even realizing I was doing it, I haven’t purchased as many items as I had previously. I am more conscious about what I am purchasing and if it is something that I truly need. I also am less wasteful with paper and plastic items that are in my household than I was before. Like I said, these are simple changes but they really are the start of what can and could be a huge difference.

Empathic design was one of favorite aspects of this course because I love helping people. Therefore, designing for a specific need was very fulfilling. I enjoyed getting to gain first hand experience on empathic design through our final project by designing for Mr. Vincent. My group even decided to design something that would be considered interior design and we are all merchandisers. I want to be better in the future about researching items and finding things that have a sustainable design concept over items that do not. I have even gained interest in tiny homes and have been researching them. I could definitely see myself getting one in a few years. I definitely don’t see myself as being a minimalist but I definitely am going to downsize and only keep what I truly need.

Overall, I feel like this course has helped me broaden my thinking about sustainability. It has shown me that even thought my major is merchandising I am fully capable of designing things and at times was surprised at how well my designs were received by my team and classmates. After this course ends, I want to further my sustainability journey by continuing to educate myself on new sustainable design concepts and products. I also want to make better choices regarding the products I purchase and services I use based on their sustainability advantages. I hope to not only continue educating myself on sustainability but others as well. I am interested in going into retail management which would allow me to be an influence on others in many ways, one being sustainability, and not only in the workplace but in my personal life. I hope to one day be a good example for my family and encourage them to also choose more sustainable practices in everything that they do.

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