tumblr_ofw1yks5fb1tk68tno6_1280Now in its third year, EUREKA! is a 48-hour interdisciplinary design “blitz” centered around connecting with the community to help solve a societal problem. EUREKA! aims to teach students about the power of helping the community (and beyond) through their design work and share actionable ideas with its community collaborators. It is organized by graphic design faculty Lorrie Frear and Kelly Murdoch-Kitt, who bring in different guest facilitators from the professional design industry to help student teams work through the fast-paced design process as they address a brief that has real community impact.

This year, students from RIT’s School of Design disciplines (graphic design, industrial design, interior design, new media design and 3D digital design) focused on problems related to food access in our local community by partnering with FoodLink, the largest organization in the region that works to combat hunger.

Student teams brainstormed to help FoodLink streamline some of their sorting, organizational and food-processing systems and methods. In creating an improved workflow, the idea is that teams could use design to help FoodLink get more food out to more people in less time. This was an exciting, real-world design problem that has multiple dimensions. FoodLink was also excited to harness the power of so many different types of designers to make their operations more effective!

EURKEA! teams had a chance to observe, interview, take notes, brainstorm, etc. in the FoodLink space and interact with volunteers and employees Thursday evening as part of the blitz kickoff, and worked on-site at the main food processing facility all day Friday.

Final design concepts were showcased in formal presentations at RIT’s Carlson Auditorium on Saturday, Oct. 1, and evaluated by a panel of judges, including three employees from FoodLink as well as RIT’s Senior Sustainability Advisor, Enid Cardinal. The judges selected Team Omelette’s solution, “Shop-thru,” as the winner of this year’s event. The team included design students Justin Callaghan (ID), Jessica Cook (GD), Haley King (NM), Kendra Murphy (INT), and Isabel Bulling (GD). Their concept addresses several solutions to the problem of agencies visiting FoodLink to purchase specific food items.

FoodLink is currently in the process of sharing all of the final presentations across their organization and will reach out to the winning team when they have a plan to move forward with their proposed ideas.

We hope the “winning” solution make FoodLink’s employees and partner agencies say, “EUREKA!”

All of the final concepts can be viewed at eurekarit.tumblr.com.




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