Creating Public Good through Life Design Showcase


Creating Public Good through Life Design Showcase

Ben Cook , Reporter

The Geoffrey H. Radbill Center for College and Life Design recently hosted their second annual BGSU 1910 project showcase in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Over 800 students occupied the second and third floors to present nearly 200 research proposals under this year’s theme: Creating Public Good.

The goal was for students to identify a problem or an issue within their community and to develop an in-depth understanding of the problem through the design thinking process. The steps included accepting, empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping and testing in order to find potential solutions..

The projects were categorized into eleven separate themes in order to develop new ideas in order to correct these problems. These themes included academics, belonging, career, campus planning, community building, environment, food, mental health, parking, residential halls and wellbeing. The projects were presented in a variety of different ways including slideshows, tri-fold boards, printed poster boards, 3D models, Minecraft prototypes and video presentations.

According to Adrienne Ausdenmoore, Executive Director of the Radbill Center for College and Life Design, the showcase was intended to follow three key objectives in the life design curriculum.

  1. To learn life design tools that will support you as you design the college experience that aligns with who you are and what matters most to you.

  2. To develop connections with peers and learn about perspectives that are different from your own.

  3. Apply the design thinking process as a creative problem solving tool to think about the ways you might impact the public good. 

Additionally, the BGSU Paws team was in attendance along with a relaxation, reflection and crafting area to provide students support and to ease presentation anxieties amongst students. 

“I think the students did a phenomenal job. There were so many fantastic ideas that the students developed and we are working on a way to take information from the projects and present it to those who were unable to attend the event,” Ausdenmoore said.

For Life Design coach Xidan (Dandan) Liang, this year’s BGSU 1910 project showcase went exactly the way she had wanted it to go. She first developed the idea for a Life Design showcase last fall and was eager to factor in the public good not only to her students, but to the local community and beyond. 

As the showcase came to an end, Liang was left feeling positive about the event, saying that she wouldn’t change a thing. She also took a moment to reflect on what this showcase meant to the students and how it would stick with them for the rest of their college experience. 

“For a majority of these students, it is their first professional conference. It can be fun to come together and present ideas, while also being serious and professional. [This event] challenges them to think about what it means to [contribute to] the public good, how they can use design thinking principles throughout their college experience and develop the desire to do things for other people early on,” she said.

Although the project showcase has come to an end, all are encouraged to continue working on problems within the community through the life design thinking process. For Life Design coach Greg Dickerson, he believes that just starting the conversation can be incredibly important.

“It’s not about whether your solution is the right one. It’s about coming together, identifying an issue within the community and doing everything you can to make it better,” Dickerson said.

The Life Design program at BGSU hopes that everyone is inspired to maintain the public good and to incorporate design thinking strategies throughout their daily lives. Whether it’s big or small, it is never too late to make a positive impact on the community.