Design Competition Announces 2022 High School Programs

New high school workshop invites passionate students to solve “wicked problems” with whole-systems design thinking, sustainability, and the circular economy.

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) has expanded its highly successful student design workshop, Wege Prize High School | Collaborative Studio with a summer 2022 program to inspire high school students to collaboratively design and propose innovative solutions that support a circular economy.

With a framework inspired by the globally recognized Wege Prize competition – whose international success has ensured its five-year continuation with a doubled total purse prize of $65,000 – the innovative, two-week high school workshop was created by KCAD’s Wege Center for Sustainable Design. Building on the idea of Wege Prize, it challenges younger students to solve big problems and redesign the way our economies work. With support from the Wege Foundation, the summer 2022 high school workshop will follow its July 2021 debut with a new session running from July 25 through August 5, 2022, in West Michigan.

Design CompetitionDuring these two weeks, 15 students will work in teams to create compelling solutions – whether a product, service, or business model – to solve “wicked problems” facing the West Michigan region. These solutions will follow the core principles of the circular economy: eliminate waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, and regenerate natural systems.

To make it happen, the high school students will participate in a rigorous process that advances their informal projects into fully developed solutions that could be prototyped and tested in a real-world context. They will receive support and guidance from over a dozen experts and guest speakers working on regional challenges. For example, in the summer of 2021, the teams worked with innovative leaders from The Grand River Restoration project, a countywide waste management group, experts in universal access to parks and recreation, and from the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.

Michigan students entering 11th or 12th grade may submit applications by June 27 to be considered for the workshop. Counselors, principals, and teachers are also encouraged to nominate students. There is no cost to participate in the program, and students will receive a stipend of $500, daily lunches (free of charge), and a certificate of completion.

“While Wege Prize High School | Collaborative Studio participants will be encouraged to solve wicked problems through design thinking methodologies, they will also collaborate and design interesting ideas with equally passionate peers,” says Gayle DeBruyn, KCAD professor and Wege Prize organizer. “We offer students a transdisciplinary experience where they can learn from local innovators, and build life-lasting professional connections, networking opportunities, skills, and a challenging perspective that will inspire them to address how to make the world a collectively better place.”

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