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In reflecting on this past year, this 2021 graduating class undeniably deserve to see their lives return to pre-pandemic times. I am grateful to have witnessed throughout this year, a cautious optimism and a collective maturity regarding adherence to both the State of Connecticut and the University’s ever-changing pandemic protocols. This respect for one another extends beyond the student body. I have also witnessed janitors, administrators, and health service providers, all remaining focused on their jobs, while being pandemic aware and responsible.
The Spring 2021 SASD semester afforded our Senior Industrial Designers a unique opportunity. We were invited to collaborate with a multinational door hardware company. The class was enlisted to design passage hardware for commercial architectural settings. Student design solutions focused on stemming viral and bacterial transmission by featuring hardware requiring limited hand contact. This challenge helped us witness first-hand the relevancy of the Industrial Design field and its ability to play a key role in helping to solve some of life’s most daunting problems.
Our Industrial Design curriculum emphasizes that students not only discover the unmet needs of their target audience, but also supply creative solutions in support of these needs. I am grateful for having had an advisory role in this process. In hindsight, it was an amazing opportunity for the students to engage in. They were challenged to embrace a worldwide empathetic mindset, while conceiving product design solutions aimed at restoring a passage to normalcy for humanity.
— Paul Santarsiero,
Professor, Industrial Design Senior Studio
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