The System of Drinking Water in Minneapolis

Student Spotlight

Last week the MASD Merit Scholarship Winners for MASD were announced. Images of Anna Stark’s project shown here focuses on using information graphics from her Course, Systems Thinking taught by Curt McNamara to explore drinking water and water consumption with a focus in Minneapolis. Here is her personal statement and inspiration behind it.

“I chose this topic to better understand the lifecycle of drinking water and water consumption patterns, find a way to connect more deeply with the community of which I reside, and consider possible ties to my thesis topic. All of which could determine or affect my career path.

Water is a core element to the wellbeing of the biosphere, and is a necessary resource connected to most all systems. The availability of, or limits to water directly impacts everything on Earth. It is often taken for granted and the process of water treatment is a mystery to many. By taking the time to study this more closely, I have a new appreciation for the molecule itself, the complexity of the drinking water treatment process and how much I consume water. I am motivated to help others understand this as well by potentially submitting ideas to the City of Minneapolis for consideration. I plan to include volunteering within my career path. To truly help my community, I believe it is important to be well researched on any given topic, including the larger water table system. This project may serve as a jumping off point into deeper systems that I may apply to volunteer opportunities or discussions with various boards of the City of Minneapolis.

As stated in my reflection, there are infinite super-systems and subsystems to study within and surrounding the system of drinking water in Minneapolis. Any of which could be connected to possible projects I may encounter in my career as a designer. All may and likely should involve sustainable water use. My thesis is focused on a specific golf equipment manufacturing brand (TaylorMade), and I am exploring water consumption reduction within related systems. The goal of my thesis is to offer potential solutions to TaylorMade and become part of their team or similar
golf manufacturer to expand sustainable practices across the sport. I believe water is a foundational system that all should understand, and golf appears to be significantly far behind.

What I love most about being a designer is the ability to thoughtfully consider solutions to a variety of challenges. Systems thinking is a strong tool I can now apply to my design process to better frame any creative brief and work towards more sustainable solutions. In a world where strategy and design are separate departments, this emboldens me to be both.”

Dawn Keene / Director

Dawn Keene is the president of Studio Change, a company offering sustainability consulting services. Prior to Studio Change, Dawn has served as president of Keene Design, Inc. an award-winning Atlanta-based firm specializing in graphic design for over a decade.

Her previous affiliations have included High-Performance Healthy Schools Committee for USGBC Atlanta (United States Green Building Council), serving as the membership chair and on the sustainability committee for AIGA Atlanta (American Institute of Graphic Arts AIGA.) Her work has been featured on Sustainable Brands and published in Graphic Design U.S.A. In addition, she has participated in panel discussions on various topics such as environmental design and community outreach.

Her life mission is to empower communities and individuals to take positive action towards building a more sustainable future through education and community outreach. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Georgia State University and graduated from MCAD’s MA in Sustainable Design program in 2013.