In Spring 2009, Rhode Island School of Design faculty Peter Dean, Charlie Cannon, and Interim Graduate Dean Chris Rose initiated a conversation with Waste for Life (an NGO that includes the cartoneros and the engineering team) about developing designs for saleable products. During the 2009-2010 academic year RISD joins the Waste for Life effort through a number of on-campus initiatives. These include: an industrial design studio that will build a Kingston Press at RISD ; the screening of a cartonero documentary as part of The Year of Providence; a school-wide design competition sponsored by the student group Respond|Design and the Office of Public Engagement; and an integration of the project into Industrial Design and Furniture courses in the Spring. This year’s efforts will culminate in the RISD Initiative for Sustainable Education exhibition in the Spring of 2010. And final designs will be shared with the Waste for Life network during the summer of 2010.

This cross departmental initiative, building on established networks, offers students a venue for the critical evaluation of hybrid materials, a close investigation of material properties of new materials, rethinking paradigms for green materials, and a concrete socially-responsible design project.