In Part 2 of the “Casting Seeds” series we’ll meet Rita Penrod, a Designer and Sustainability Consultant for FourFive Sustainable Design based in Minneapolis, MN, who graduated from the program with a Professional Certificate in Sustainable Design. Read an article authored by Rita Penrod earlier this year about her experience in the program, Get a Life, Get a Career.
“I entered MCAD’s Sustainable Design program simply hoping to enhance my professional capabilities, but came out of the program with an entirely new way of thinking. I can no longer design without considering the impact of my decisions to the entire system.” — Rita Penrod, Minnesota, Alumn
Meet Rita Penrod
Sustainable Design (SD): Was learning about Sustainable Design something you wanted to do, or something your job asked of you?
Rita Penrod (RP): My choice.
SD: Why did you join the program?
RP: After a successful career in mainstream (unsustainable) design, I wanted to use my skills and experience to do something more meaningful. I could have chosen activism as a hobby, but it made more sense to incorporate it into my job and make a living at it. Now I spend my entire day doing the “right thing.” I can’t wait to go to work each day. How many people can say that?
SD: How has what you learned by studying Sustainable Design at MCAD helped you in your field?
RP: My approach to design is much smarter. I now think about the entire system instead of only function, appeal, and cost. And even with the simplest design projects, I’m educating my clients about the benefits of sustainability. In fact, I’m now doing as much consulting as design – helping clients develop sustainability and CSR strategies, and communicating their stories.
SD: All in all, was this program practical?
RP: MCAD’s Sustainable Design program provides the practical training to help students design smarter and be more valuable to their clients and employers. However, it’s the total shift of perspective, the explorations of the unknown, and the challenging of assumptions brought about by the program that goes far beyond practical. It creates a new world of possibilities.
Image courtesy of Flickr CC @Patrick Hoesly