Alumni Update: Dawn Keene

Green Graphic & Packaging Design


Master of Arts in Sustainable Design (MASD) alum, Dawn Keene, (’13) was recently featured in Graphic Design USA’s digital magazine in the article Responsible Design Matters No Matter What You Call It.

Dawn says, “…I pursued and completed a Masters of Arts in Sustainable Design at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and it was one of the best decisions and experiences of my life. Committed to being a force for change and empowering others to take action, I created Studio Change, a sustainable design consultancy that inspires small and forward-thinking companies to make sustainability a framework for building their businesses, serving their customers, developing their employees and contributing to the common good.”

This past Earth Day, Dawn Keene and Studio Change worked with nearly 70 design students at Chapel Hill High School. Dawn “challenged them to ‘lighten their step’ by developing sustainability strategies to reduce their carbon footprint.”

Two key takeaways:

Students would leave Lighten Your Step workshop with:

  1. the understanding of a systems approach to viewing their
    relationship with the rest of nature, and
  2. taking small steps can create big change.

She reports, “The day started off with a simple slide show to demonstrate to students what sustainability is and why it is important to minimize impact in their daily activities. Students then took an interactive quiz online to see the size of their footprints and developed personal strategies to reduce it. Students were given a blank “tip” card and asked to write one thing they could start doing immediately to create change. The tips and personal strategies were incorporated into an infographic.


At the end of the event, sketchbooks were created using FSC certified paper, green-e 100 renewable green electricity and carbon Neutral Plus were given out as prizes. Pages were
trimmed from outdated letterhead backed with recycled chipboard and the coil was made from 100 PCW plastic. The image was silkscreened with non-toxic water based inks and glue.”

Read the full story.

Dawn, we are so proud of you! Keep up the wonderful and inspiring work.


Images courtesy of Dawn Keene and GDUSA.

Cindy Gilbert / Former Director

Cindy is founder and director of Alula Consulting which specializes in innovative online and sustainability education projects for educational institutions, non-profits, and corporations. Recent clients include The Lemelson Foundation, VentureWell, Green Building Research Institute, University of Montana, PBS, Silverback Films, and more. Cindy has taught numerous courses and workshops, around the world and online, in the fields of biology, sustainability and biomimicry.

Cindy was the founding director of MCAD’s Sustainable Design program for 7.5 years which is home to the fully online, multidisciplinary MA in Sustainable Design (MASD) that is the first of its kind in the world. In this role, she fostered a culture of awareness and creativity through sustainable, innovative and collaborative design. Before MCAD, she served for nearly four years as the founding director of university education at the Biomimicry Institute where she developed and managed all higher education programs, including the professional certification program, annual education summits, affiliate and fellows programs, and design challenges. Cindy is based in Montana. Please contact her through LinkedIn.