Master's candidate presents in Baltimore

MA Graphic Design and Digital Media candidate Thomas Pickett recently traveled to Baltimore, MD to present at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education conference (AASHE). Pickett presented on a panel called, "The Earth Without Art is Eh" alongside Stephanie Choi from Arizona State University, speaking about his use of design and design thinking to launch the Tap In campaign on campus last spring semester.

Following the completion of a bachelor's degree of fine arts in graphic design, Pickett continued his academic pursuits here at SUNY Oswego and began working on his MA in Graphic Design and Digital Media. "I decided to come back to SUNY Oswego because I didn't feel like I was done yet," said Pickett. "Our BFA program is robust and that's great. But on the other hand there's a lot to explore and I didn't feel like I was done exploring and I enjoyed the depth of the master's program." 

Graduate Studies Furthers Success

Now as a graduate student Pickett has stepped up from the graphic design intern to the creative director and assistant sustainability coordinator for the department of sustainability. Pickett initially presented findings of the Tap In campaign at the 2016 QUEST Day at SUNY Oswego but decided to take it further. "We did a lot of research before the first launch of Tap In, and after the initial 8 weeks of the spring 2016 semester we created an analysis of the shortcomings of the program and where it was a failure because it was in some aspects and how we could pivot to increase the success of the program," stated Pickett.  "I learned all of that from Rebecca Mushtare and from being a graphic design major as an undergraduate here. It's been reinforced even more so as a graduate student."

In Baltimore, Pickett presented how the use of the department of sustainability’s graphic design helped the successful launch of the Tap In campaign. In just two short months, the SUNY Oswego Campus community saved over 20,000 disposable water bottles. Along with Pickett, the sustainability department won first place in the Recyclemania Engagement and Innovation Case Study Competition. Sustainability also won the AIGA Emerging Designers Award for the positive impact the Tap In campaign had on the community.

Pickett credits Mushtare, his graduate mentor and his graduate education for helping him utilize a design thinking process of problem-solving with graphic design. "We're really honing in on problem-solving and telling a story," said Pickett. "It's a new concept, design thinking, where you do your research first to know who you're designing for and then you cater your solution to which you're designing for, not the solution itself. Nine times out of ten when you design for someone the solution organically grows out of that, and that's what we've been doing."