Develop meaningful relationships with local communities, non-profit organizations, and industry partners.
Community engagement is a tenet of experiential learning at the School of Design where students connect with local communities, non-profit organizations, and industry partners to address real-world challenges. This collaborative approach facilitates hands-on learning experiences and fosters the development of innovative solutions, aligning with Virginia Tech's service motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). Through active participation in community engagement projects, students build professional skills and contribute positively to the world.
Industrial Design has partnered with a number of campus and community organizations to promote wellness for individuals, families, and some of the most vulnerable sectors of the population. Some of the student design projects with the most impact include the Coffee Bike for the Recovery Community at Virginia Tech, our Aging in Place project sponsored by SFCS Architects that utilizes our proximity to the Warm Hearth Senior Living Community to keep the elderly in their homes longer by staying healthy through design solutions, our Empty Bowls project that has raised approximately $75,000 in the fight against hunger in our area, and the Connection 2 Care Backpack our students designed and manufactured for housing insecure citizens that may be suffering from substance abuse.
Community-based design principles and engagement practices are integrated across the undergraduate and graduate curriculum. All students work with real communities and real places on projects to envision design and planning solutions to meet the challenges of open space design.
The annual program-wide student/community engagement project, the Richard G. Gibbons Virginia Public Open Space Charrette, partners with Virginia communities to envision open space designs to meet current and future needs for recreation and social gatherings, promoting physical and mental well-being, and addressing environmental health. Sustainable design and resiliency projects, based in the Hampton Roads Metro Area, partner with community members, local elected officials, and regional non-profit organizations to identify and address critical impacts on homes and businesses associated with stormwater management, coastal flooding and sea level rise. Students worked with Scenic Virginia to develop a community engagement plan that local communities can use to identify their most valued scenic viewpoints and resources. Others partnered with residents of Covenant Woods Senior Living Community to redesign campus outdoor spaces to meet their physical and social needs while enjoying the out-of-doors, and also increasing biodiversity and water quality. A partnership with the city of Radford explored a broad array of local environmental, social and economic concerns relevant to the regeneration of a post-industrial site in the city.
Thank you to Landscape Architecture's 2023-2024 industry partners: City of Virginia Tech, City of Norfolk, WPL, Downtown Wythevillem and Wetlands Watch.