At the beginning of the course with my first blog I defined sustainability as “what we can do to help save the world. As our world has developed new technologies we have become less conserved about our Earth and what we are doing to it”. When I was writing that definition I was thinking more broadly of what sustainability is. Throughout the course we learned or I realized that sustainability does not have to be a big plan in a large company. This course taught me about my how one person can change one little thing in his or her life and make a difference in sustainability. If each person took a little bit of time to find their top three most wasteful things in his or her life and find a way to cut back, or look for a more sustainable option. Three small changes in peoples lives can make a large difference overall to the earth. Once people start to make personal changes they are able to feel more comfortable to talk to others on changes that they can make in their personal lives. That is when that one person grows into a group of a few, more people join and it is a larger group. When people become more comfortable with sustainability can feel more comfortable about changing the practices at their work and to make their work place more sustainable. Sustainability does not have to be a big thing but a grouping of small changes can make large changes. In the first blog I talked about how everyone wants the newest and greatest item on the market. With each newer item on the market it makes the older products obsolete and creates a large amount of waste. There should be some type of system that makes waste less with the products that people no longer need. Sustainable design is about making new products with existing products. It is about finding different ways to run things instead of using oil.
One thing that I will be taking away is empathy design. In this course we learned the definition of empathy design, which is the process of developing an understanding of users, not just their needs. As a merchandising major I think about how to showcase different products for stores in the best ways to increase sales. Before this class I did not think that merchandisers could be considered an empathetic designer. I thought that it was up to the product designer to think about how to best design for the consumer. However, I have learned that it is up to everyone to think about how to design for everyone. This course focuses on how to design for the older adults. As a 22-year-old merchandiser it is hard to understand how someone who is 75 has problems putting on their clothing, cooking, and shopping. Through different activities I have been pushed to think outside of my own mindset and try to see how others see things, feel things, and move. Empathetic design is not just about stepping into someone else’s shoes, but rather seeing them with a problem and feeling the need to fix their problem to make his or her life better and easier.
I personally love working with natural materials and bringing nature into design. I never knew before this class that there were theories that support what I personally do. It made me see that it is not just me that likes to design with nature in mind. Nor did I know that designing with nature in mind or incorporating it into places can make people feel more comfortable. These are just a couple things that I am taking away from the class.
In this course I thought that I would learn about sustainability and come up with ways to change our future job to become more sustainable. These are things that we did through class activities and talks from readings. However, I think this class could help people start thinking about making his or her life more sustainable by talk and doing activities that someone can do right now while still in school. Most of our learning community activities were based on what we would or could do in our career. That is not a bad thing at all, but I think that it takes steps for someone to become an sustainability activist and I believe that starts with him or her changing how he or she does things in the everyday life right now. I wish we could have talked more about and done activities for how to make our lives in school more sustainable. Or doing a semester long project of coming up with a sustainable design to help students on campus thinking about sustainability. Then take our ideas to the school and try to implement it into Oklahoma State. In my opinion the only people who know how to help students think more about sustainability are students. We know how life is on campus and what our major waste problems are. If this idea was implemented into the course I think the course should be less than a 4000 level class that is mainly for seniors. That way the winner of the sustainability challenge could work with Oklahoma State on the winning project in the upcoming years of his or her schooling.