Community design innovator Pilloton to speak twice on campus

SUNY Oswego’s Office of Business and Community Relations will kick off its new Community Incubator initiative with two appearances in late February by Emily Pilloton, described as “a design activist, builder, social activist and champion of industrial design as a tool to change the world.”

Emily PillotonPilloton, founder and executive director of Project H Design, will appear at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, in a free public presentation on “Humanitarian Design in the Community Incubator” in the college’s Hewitt Union ballroom.

The following day, at 9 a.m., Pilloton will appear in Hewitt Union ballroom as part of a facilitated discussion with area educators about design solutions originating with educators, students and others in the community that can stimulate development.

“This is an exciting opportunity for members of our community to explore the concept of Design Thinking and the means by which design ideas can positively impact society,” said Chena Tucker, assistant project manager in the Office of Business and Community Relations, who studied sustainable design at Marylhurst University near Portland, Ore.

In 2010, Pilloton’s Project H Design nonprofit began an immersive residency in Bertie, the poorest county in North Carolina. Pilloton lived and worked in Bertie County, and is now in Berkeley working with REALM Charter School.

In a TED Talk that has nearly 430,000 views, Pilloton explains the vision sparking youth-driven design for community improvements that she said will lead to empowered and inspired teachers and students, useful advances a community can take pride in, creative capital built over time, and education that is more fun, practical and innovative.

Her company’s website talks about innovative ways to deal with the “demise of rural America,” “hollowing out of small towns,” “brain drain” and the “dependence on subsidies” that Bertie County represented.

“Creating the conditions under which change is possible” is the initial goal, and it begins with designing for education, designing from within education and redesigning education itself, Pilloton said.

Panelists for the Thursday morning, Feb. 28, roundtable will include John Belt, longtime associate professor in the college’s technology education program; school superintendents William Crist of the Oswego City School District, Robert Pritchard of Mexico and Christopher Todd of Oswego County BOCES; and Gregg Hefner, commissioner of the county Department of Social Services.

Parking for each of the events featuring Emily Pilloton is in lots E-18 and, for overflow, R-9, to the south of Hart and Funnelle residence halls.

For more information, contact the SUNY Oswego Office of Business and Community Relations at 315-312-3492 or obcr@oswego.edu.

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(Posted: Feb 13, 2013)

Tags: office of business and community relations, community incubator