Rutgers Design For America Logo

Launch of The Rutgers Design For America Chapter 

By: Greeva Patel

August 15, 2023

We are thrilled to announce the official launch of the Rutgers Design for America (DFA) studio! With a mission to equip students with the toolkit, connections, and values needed to tackle any challenge, DFA Rutgers is the newest addition to the 30 pre-existing studios across the country, and was founded by students in the Innovation, Design, and Entrepreneurship Academy.

“We founded this studio to incorporate thoughtful design into socially responsible and impactful solutions for the college and surrounding communities,” said Kal Pandit, a junior at the School of Arts and Sciences and the chapter’s Founding Studio Lead Director. His co-founders, and members of the 2022-2023 Studio Leadership Team, are Rut Mehta, Co-Director and a junior at the School of Arts and Sciences who is majoring in Business Analytics and Information Technology and Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics; Scott Rubin, Project Team Manager and a senior at the Rutgers Business School who is majoring in Business Analytics and Information Technology; Greeva Patel, Co-Community Enrichment Director and a junior at the Rutgers Business School who is majoring in Supply Chain Management; Jasmine Shamani, Co-Community Enrichment Director and a junior at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences; Kritika Singh, Education Director and a senior at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and RWJMS accelerated BA/MD program; and Sahil Jena, Treasurer and a junior at the School of Arts and Sciences who is majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Plant Science and Data Science.

At the urging of IDEA Director, Veronica Armour, the team began looking into bringing a DFA chapter to Rutgers during the 2022 IDEA Summer Design Program. “At the core of Rutgers University lies a commitment to social impact, with numerous organizations and clubs working tirelessly with different institutions in and around New Brunswick to give back to the community," Armour said. "DFA Rutgers is here to support these emerging social innovators by incorporating design thinking into their innovation processes and empowering them to make meaningful change.”

During the fall 2023 semester, the chapter embarked on a 12-week design sprint focusing on food insecurity in the Rutgers community. The studio board matched 50 students to 8 teams, team leads helped students to navigate through the design journey. Every Friday, students gathered for design thinking process workshops where Education Director Kritika Singh took them through the six steps of design thinking, engaging in interactive activities to enhance their projects. Additionally, DFA National hosted an incredible design lab at Rutgers to kick off the semester challenge. At the end of the 12-weeks, participants presented their research and solutions through compelling prototypes.

Design for America members, Fall 2023

The spring 2024 semester was just as exciting, with DFA Rutgers hosting various social events, including game nights, a design thinking scavenger hunt in Alexander Library, workshops, and community service initiatives. Three of the initiatives from the design sprint went on to be deployed within the Rutgers and New Brunswick communities. The year with an amazing collaboration event  as DFA Rutgers studio leadership organized a DFA Northeast Studio meet up at New York City College of Technology where DFA members from Yale, NYU, Columbia-Barnard, as well as City Tech participated in a 3-hour accelerated design lab where teams worked on and presented prototypes on ideas to keep students involved on campus. To wrap up the pilot year, the DFA Rutgers Media Team created a captivating 3-minute video, achieving official chapter recognition.

In Fall 2024, the new DFA Rutgers leadership team is gearing up for another thrilling design sprint, this time focusing on the pressing problem of mental health in young individuals, especially college students.

“We couldn't be prouder of what we've accomplished so far, and we are incredibly excited for the future of DFA Rutgers,” said Greeva Patel, DFA Rutgers Community Enrichment Director “The dedication and passion of our members have been exceptional, and we look forward to making a positive impact in our community and beyond. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue our journey of design-driven social innovation!”

You May Also Like

IDEA students at RU Health Hack highlights

November marked a significant event in the Rutgers University calendar - the inaugural Rutgers Health Hack, hosted at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital. This event drew a diverse crowd of thinkers, innovators, and doers - among them, a spirited group from Rutgers' own Innovation, Design, and Entrepreneurship Academy (IDEA). These IDEA students didn't just attend; they became a driving force of creativity and ingenuity, leaving a significant mark on the hackathon.