The end is here…

When recollecting to the beginning of the semester’s first blog my idea of sustainability was totally wrong. To me my definition of sustainability was just being green, or environmentally friendly. I also was incompetent on the idea that there are multiple theories under sustainability and sustainable design. I am now fully aware of what sustainability actually entails. To me now I would define sustainability as the ability to design spaces, and products in a way that prolong the actual environment and life for users and product with taking away the bare minimum from the environment. I am now able to consider sustainable design and the theories to approach all of my future products. Even though it has been more difficult to adjust in my personal life, without even noticing I have been placing sustainable design practices within all of my class design projects.

At the beginning of the semester I was skeptical walking into this course because out of the years at Oklahoma State University this was the first time I was seeing the concept of sustainable design. I now knowing what it entails wish this would have been presented to me sooner so I could start incorporating more of these design practices within my coursework and potentially adapt more to it in my personal life. Another thing I learned was the different sustainable practices our campus has taken initiative to become a more sustainable campus. Some of the practices they take apart in that I learned about are: the recycling center, water irrigation, wind energy, tree recording, the garden outside of the ranchers club, and a few other things like using certain bugs to rid of pests or animals to rid of bugs. As the semester went on I learned more in depth of a sustainable life. Such as when Dr. Armstrong discussed her childhood with us and how she is impacted to live a sustainable life now. She discussed with us how she only buys items that she knows for sure she needs and has the bare minimum. These are things that I lack on because I tend to buy things compulsively and want to keep up with fashion trends instead of buying just staple items that will stand the test of time. I am now aware of this tendency and have stopped my compulsive shopping. Another speaker on living with the minimum was professor Pulay, who discussed her move into a “Tiny Home”. This was eye opening because her whole home is minimum sized to actually be needed to survive. I personally got to visit and tour her home for one of my classes under her and it was fascinating how much space is actually not necessary. One of the final lessons I learned during the semester that I find the most effective for my future design career is empathic design. Empathic design is the ability to be able to put yourself in the shoes of the potential user and be able to design something that can actually enhance their well being or way of life. One of the projects we did for this class was on empathic design and solving a problem for our designated client. Our client, Ms. Susan, had minimal storage and wanted a way for her guests to be able to stay in her guest room while still having room for her workout equipment. We decided to use a biophilic, eco-designed, and cradle-to-cradle approach on creating a murphy bed. By placing ourselves in the users shoes we came up with a solar powered button that would enable them to not have to physically move the bed which can later be heavy due to potential aging. These were all very important and enlightening lessons I was able to receive through this course that I have the biggest reflection on.

Knowing what I know now I would like to learn more in depth about industrial ecology, and how to be more effective with this theory. I also would like to continue learning about empathic design. I believe that it is truly something that I will be able to use within my career daily and want to be able to fully encompass this theory and have the knowledge of fully using this theory to my advantage. I was hoping to learn more on interior design related sustainable design. Even though there were a few articles that seemed beneficial I would like to be able to see more physical examples of it being incorporated today. I think this would be really helpful for Dr. Jayadas to incorporate within his teaching because one design that I was really intrigued by that made me want to look further into was the TED talk on the Green school/community. These homes and schooling system fully made out of bamboo is so fascinating to me. I think being able to see more examples like this would give better ideas to understand the concept. For example I would like to see an example presented about industrial ecology because this is one of the topics I did not understand very well. I however did find a lot of the lectures very relevant and enjoyed this course overall.

As this is the last thing I will be doing for this class I can happily say that I have enjoyed the lessons learned within this class and that I hope to be able to work on projects that allow me to incorporate a sustainable way of mind within it. I am eager to continue my journey and hope to develop a more sustainable way of life for myself.

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