Design students in sustainable systems

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Design and Nature: A Partnership, 2019, pp. 153-159
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This chapter highlights resourceful experiential learning in a hyper-urban setting, where connecting with nature within a three-hour class can be a challenge. Sustainable Systems is a required course for over 1,000 first-year undergraduate students across 11 disciplines at Parsons. The unpredictability of the rescued species was more challenging to manage than with pre-assigned succulents, while making connections to communities and economic systems was easier in the version. Natural dyeing, while an entry into teaching about nature’s systems in relation to textiles is a community-building activity as participants share dye research. Sansone runs a series of natural dyeing workshops to different classes; the networking is important in maintaining a sense of community across 32 simultaneous sections of the class. Design educators have countless opportunities to connect pedagogy with regional economies and local communities; this example highlights a local, living waste stream around which a thriving community has developed.
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