REstart: Design for a Sustainable Future

Sustainability—it’s a word we hear a lot. We casually refer to sustainable choices, products, and lifestyles, but what exactly is this idea of sustainability? In order to unravel this buzzword, nineteen Graphic Design seniors from Virginia Commonwealth University’s campus in Doha, Qatar (VCUQ) and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY USA collaborated across the globe to make meaningful connections between the concept of sustainability and our day-to-day lives.
Students worked together in cross-cultural partnerships to tackle a variety of different ideas and challenges related to the idea of sustainability. Within the broader topics of food, culture, and consumption each individual worked on interactive design solutions that help to further our global understanding of environmental and humanitarian sustainability.
Over the course of one semester, student design products were shared as digital experiences as well as public exhibitions that connected a wide and multicultural audience with the research and idea development of the two classes.
The name of the exhibit comes from the idea that we need to restart or reset our thinking. It’s an action word, and gives rise to all the different ways we can rethink our current trajectory as a people on this planet. The “re” aspect also provides a way to frame and unify a diverse collection of complex, interrelated topics and projects.
REcreate • REdesign • REjuvenate • REdefine • REveal • REcycle • REthink • REstart!

REveal: FOOD

REthink: CONSUMPTION

REnew: CULTURE

REconsider: E-BOOKS

About Us

Meet our VCUQ & RIT classes!

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Noof AlMohannadi

Noof AlMohannadi, VCUQ

Hometown: Doha, Qatar
REgrow: Let's Plant // Food
My topic is about the issue of food security, which has been an issue in Qatar lately. I want to reach the children as they are my audience and aware them as this issue is exceeding currently, especially when the young generations are mostly relying on ordered food and not home made.

Abdul Rahman

Abdul Rahman, VCUQ

Hometown: Lahore, Pakistan
Reword: Farm to landfill // Food
For my project, I wanted to make the people aware of the food waste happening around the world. Seeing the waste happening around me I felt like that people should know the harmful impacts that it has on our environment.

Bo Peng

Bo Peng, VCUQ

Hometown: Hefei, Anhui, China
REenergize: The Solar Energy // Culture
Hi my name is Boqin Peng, I am from VCU, Richmond. I am originally from China. For my project, I want to address the topic of solar energy. I believe that using clean energy is the best way to solve problems such as gas shortage, pollution, etc. Since Qatar is rich in solar power, it is extremely appropriate to emphasize the topic here. Favorite Food: Jing jiang rou si.

Mariam Al-Jufairi

Mariam Al-Jufairi, VCUQ

Hometown: Doha, Qatar
REcover: Bullying // Culture
My exhibition is about the true effects of bullying and how much bullying can really affect a person’s entire life. I chose to include my ebook, which is also about the effects of bullying, and to have private rooms where people can write down their confessions and look at shocking statistics about bullying.

Philip Czapla

Philip Czapla, RIT

Hometown: Buffalo, NY, USA
REthink: Unf**k the Closet
After moving numerous times over my college career, and realizing an abundance of things cloud peoples’ lives, I believe less stuff equivalates to more happiness it’s a theme that links to the topic of sustainability and makes it approachable. Fun fact: I am a chicken wing connoisseur!
Check out more of my process here.

Moza Khalifa Al-Nasr

Moza Khalifa Al-Nasr, VCUQ

Hometown: Doha, Qatar
REplenish: Let's Fish // Food
I was very interested in this topic that I have never heard of until the time we were asked to research a topic that was related to sustainability. This issue is very serious and people are not fully aware of what is happening to the oceans and seas so I was very interested in a topic that I will learn more about it while I design an ebook about this issue.

Adrienne Michalakis

Adrienne Michalakis, RIT

Hometown: Falmouth, ME, USA
REcycle: Recycling at RIT // Consumption
For my project, I chose to focus on recycling because it is a topic I am passionate about and been surrounded by my entire life. I would love to see the recycling program at RIT expand and be more involved on campus, which is what inspired me to make a recycling app as my final project. Also my favorite food is greek olives with cheese!
Check out more of my process here.

Ann Donato

Ann Donato, RIT

Hometown: Rochester, NY, USA
REdefine: Redefine Clean
Hello! My project is an app that helps users to make healthy and eco friendly choices in their daily use of cleaning and beauty products. It was inspired by a passion for improving people’s lives and decreasing pollution through the use natural products. I wanted to make healthy, natural alternatives more accessible, and easily understood. And my favorite food is definitely chocolate!
Check out more of my process here.

Alanoud Al-Sowaidi

Alanoud Al-Sowaidi, VCUQ

Hometown: Doha, Qatar
REcall: Cultural Dress // Culture
Hi my name is Alanoud Al Sowaidi I am 23 years old Qatari women, a senior in graphic design at Virginia commonwealth university. I choose to step outside the box and think of a topic that’s not stereotypical known as one of the sustainability topics. I was trying to challenge myself and think of something clever. I choose “Preserving national identity” which is a sub topic for culture. Then me and my group member Mona made a preserving Qatari culture exhibition together to preserve nation identity and sustain language. My favorite type of food is sushi !!

Amanda Phouthavong

Amanda Phouthavong, RIT

Hometown: Chicago, IL, USA
REplant: Simple Eats // Food
Hello. (: This past summer, I was introduced to community gardening. It was such a wonderful experience that I had to make community gardening my topic! Did you know: Community gardens improve the health and wellbeing of those involved? And do you know what goes well with fresh fruits and vegetables? Chicken. My FAVORITE food is chicken. Yum! Check out more of my process here.

Mona Alsulaiti

Mona Alsulaiti, VCUQ

Homewtown: Doha, Qatar
REword: Language Preservation // Culture
My name is Mona Al-sulaiti, I’m 22 years old. Born and live in Qatar. I’m a senior in the Graphic Design department. As a designer, I’m interested in preserving Qatari culture, which I’m proud of. I like to let other people know more about my culture and traditions. Also I like to work with Arabic typography in my designs. For this class I choose to sustain our culture, I wanted the new generation to be aware of their identity and culture. And to use their mother-tongue and be proud of it.

Salma Hamouda

Salma Hamouda, VCUQ

Hometown: Cairo, Egypt
REconsider: Taking Things for Granted // Consumption
My exhibit design is a meal that will change your views on food and water consumption. In some countries, this meal that is displayed is all that people have to eat and drink. The infographic shown behind the meal has alarming facts and figures about how much food and water we waste; it also explains how by wasting food we waste water too. I hope to create an impact and change people’s behaviors by not letting them take food and water for granted anymore. Favorite Food: Pizza

Liz Wells

Liz Wells, RIT

Hometown: Washington, DC, USA
REveal: Stuck in a Food Desert // Food
My project is a game that lets you play a day in the life of someone living in a food desert. After living in Brooklyn, NY this past summer, I realized that my neighborhood there was a food desert. Trying to buy fresh foods was a daily struggle and this made me aware of the issues in that area. I wanted to do something to change the problem! Also my favorite food is french fries!
Check out more of my process here.

Mohammad Jawad

Mohammad Jawad, VCUQ

Hometown: Multan, Pakistan
REclaim: Farm to Landfill // Food
As a foodie, I have always appreciated the value of food and it upsets to see edible food going to waste. Not because we have to feed 8 billion people by 2050 but because its not ethical or environmentally friendly. My aim for this project was to make people realize about the food they waste, by informing them about the damaging effects it has on the environment. Focusing on behavior change as the first step to sustainable food.

Brandon Geib

Brandon Geib, VCUQ

Hometown: Cleveland, OH, USA
REcommit: Vegetarian // Food
Hello, I am Brandon Geib, and during the premiere of this exhibition I was studying at VCUQ. I was born in Cleveland, OH. I have been a happy and healthy vegetarian for 8 years and decided to reveal the benefits of plant based diets. For the opening of the exhibition I cooked vegetarian burgers as a way to promote a healthier heart, mind and environment. I have also created and laid out a cookbook with environmental comments, quick food tips, and some delicious vegetarian options. I really enjoy Apples as a singular food! Check out more of my process here.

Wanoun Yaqoob

Wanoun Yaqoob, VCUQ

Hometown: Lahore, Pakistan
REseed: Grow your own food // Food
I chose home gardening/local farming as my topic because I myself love to grow my own food but never got a chance. My exhibition displays a mini-garden that would give each person a chance to grow his or her own food and make a difference on an individual level. The garden has all the materials needed for people to start off the planting process. Once they plant it, they can take the pot home as well. I chose four vegetables and bought seeds for them, they are: tomato, cucumber, cilantro and eggplant. These are the most common vegetables that grow a lot in Qatar, so why not grow yourself? Favorite Food: Chicken Biryani.

Hala Hamad

Hala Hamad, VCUQ

Hometown: Safad, Hazafon, Palestine
REdiscover: Identity Mosaic // Culture
A hybrid identity is one of the many byproducts of being a Third Culture Kid (TCK) a term used to refer to children who were raised in a culture outside of their parents’ culture for a significant part of their developmental years. My topic is about heritage conservation and how TCK’s may control the future of many languages, religions, and traditions that have lived on this earth for generations. The Qatari society is a multicultural one. A space like Qatar influences the identities of the people living in it. This board is designed, as a space to allow people to express what they feel are significant aspects of their identities through a simple 7X10cm flag. The completion of this board will reveal a mosaic of unique identities, and the different factors that shape those who live in Qatar. Favorite food: Chocolate!

Aisha Rasheed

Aisha Rasheed, VCUQ

Hometown: Doha, Qatar
REaffirm: In Their Shoes // Culture
How would you feel in their shoes, is an installation/ exhibition piece, which allows both women and men to experience the misfortune hree mirrors which show different factors of oppression like abuse, making people wear things against their beliefs and being a women limited to doing things that she likes. After experiencing the installation piece people will be asked to write their thoughts and experience on pieces of paper to explain how they felt during being in the women’s shoes, this way I will be able to gather information and map it and put it infroof what some women in the MENA region, go through. This shows different factors or pain inflicted either physically or emotionally or mentally. Through the installation people will participate in standing infront of tnt of people so that they can seethe statistics of how women feel and how men would feel in that place.

Nabiila Lubay

Nabiila Lubay, VCUQ

Hometown: Jakarta, Indonesia
REvision: Fortune Teller Booth // Consumption
The "REVision Your Future" booth is an interactive and playful exhibition that allows the user to understand the topic of overconsumption and wastage in a more subtle but insightful way. The idea derived from the concept of tarot reading and divination of being able to see into your own future by using present or past clues that could give a slight peek towards a person's possible future. Using this divination concept, the "REVision your future" booth allows the user to pick two cards. One card shows the past/present situation of overconsumption and the other shows them a future on how they can make a difference to create an eco-friendly future. This booth’s main goal is to spread awareness of overconsumption through methods that are engaging and unique in the hope of involving people to start thinking and initiating action towards their own sustainable future! Favorite Food: anything as long as it’s edible and halal.

Denielle Emans

Denielle Emans, VCUQ Faculty

Hometown: Australia & Michigan, USA
Current city: Doha, Qatar
Design for a Sustainable Future is an exciting class for me to teach because it enables me to combine my equal passions for sustainability and design. Combining this class with Kelly's advanced interaction design class prompts my students to think about how design can address issues of sustainability and behavior through a broad spectrum of media and methods. We believe in the power of coss-cultual partnership not only as a learning opportunity, but as an essential path toward solving some of our world's most pressing issues such as pollution, water scarcity, and social injustice. Truly, sustainability is not a topic that should be reserved solely for a special elective course; it should be acknowledged and integrated across higher education and design curricula.

Kelly M. Murdoch-Kitt

Kelly M. Murdoch-Kitt, RIT Faculty

Hometown: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Current city: Rochester, NY, USA
I am interested in intercultural design collaboration for many reasons, especially because it helps prepare students for the complexity of the world and of future design practice. In this particular case, partnering with an exhibit design course gives my interaction design students the opportunity to challenge their assumptions, not only of other cultures, but about interaction design. (Interactions are not limited to the screen!) Furthermore, pursuing complex international issues gives students a glimpse at how deeply they must research the topics for which they design. It also sheds light on various issues from multinational perspectives, which is valuable when proposing solutions to such intricate topics as sustainability.