In Environmental Design, students studied the process and execution of sustainable design practices within the built environment. Environmental Design is a relatively new, cross-disciplinary field that has gained recognition and importance over the past 30 years. It is a primary concentration where the graphic, interior, and industrial design disciplines converge. After contacting specific sites around campus that JMU Facilities Management suggested could be re-designed, due to issues such as storm water management, student groups designed solutions for each of three locations. Renowned artist and designer Michael Singer worked closely with the students, critiquing their projects, and the final designs were presented in an exhibition at the end of the semester. One of the students’ projects, the Alluvial Garden, created an elegant solution to a site with many constraints and became the basis for an actual project on campus.
Working with the Director of the Institute for the Stewardship of the Natural World, and two faculty members from the School of Communications, Re-thinking Our Environment examined the subject of Environmental Rhetoric. Students explored and discuss relationships between visual representations of “the environment” and scientific understandings of environmental and ecological health. They then considered the cultural and political implications of “seeing” and representing environments in particular media, articulating the roles of policy makers, scientific communities and publics in addressing environmental issues. Finally they researched, planned, and produced visually oriented “public education” campaigns designed to increase awareness of the goals of the university stewardship initiative, and produce positive social change related to these goals. One of the students’ campaigns was adapted by JMU University Communications and Marketing as the official publicity campaign for ISNW. In addition, Kevin Edwards, one of the IVS students created a logo design, the “brain tree” which has now become the logo for ISNW.