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We Asked the World’s Top Fashion Schools: How Are You Teaching Sustainability to Tomorrow’s Designers?

Pratt

Image: Pratt.edu

Image: Pratt.edu

Answers provided by Carolyn Schaeberle, Assistant Director of the Center for Sustainable Design Strategies, PRATT

Is sustainability actually offered as a subject at your school? The Center for Sustainable Design Strategies serves as a physical and virtual hub for Pratt’s commitment to educate environmentally responsible citizens. CSDS encourages the use of Pratt’s campus as a living laboratory linking the classroom to campus initiatives. The CSDS houses a materials research center that supports faculty, students and alumni in the integration of sustainability into their professional lives. CSDS is also the home of the Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation founded in 2002. Additionally, many individual programs at Pratt incorporate Sustainability in their curriculum. 

What year did you start to incorporate sustainability into your curriculum? Many Departments have been talking about sustainability in their courses for years (20+). In 2007, Debera Johnson was named Academic Director of Sustainability and in 2009, the Center for Sustainable Design Strategies was founded.

Sustainable design strategies / Image: csds.pratt.edu

Sustainable design strategies / Image: csds.pratt.edu

Are ethics and sustainability an active and growing area of interest at your school, among either faculty or students? Yes, outside of incorporating these topics in the classroom, many students, faculty and staff participate in organizations and events throughout the year around this subject area. Additionally, the Sustainability Coalition hosts an annual event called Green Week — a campus-wide event dedicated to sustainability at Pratt.

How do you classify ‘sustainability’ as a practice within your school? It varies by department — some have classes specifically dedicated to sustainable practices while others tie it into the entire curriculum. I think different departments “classify” it in various ways as well. Some focus more on the social side of things while others focus more on environmental impact/human health issues.

Image: csds.pratt.edu

Image: csds.pratt.edu

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