Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) is expanding on its highly successful student design workshop, Wege Prize High School | Collaborative Studio, with a summer 2022 program that continues to inspire star 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 USD $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 25th through August 5th, 2022, in West Michigan.
During 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 our natural systems.
To make it happen, the high school students will participate in a lively yet 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 the 11th or 12th grade may submit applications by June 27th this year to be considered for the workshop.
Applications Open: Wege Prize High School | Collaborative Studio
The program is open to Michigan students entering the 11th or 12th grade. Interested students may submit applications to be considered for a spot in the workshop – see submission link below for more details – by the deadline of June 27, 2022. Additionally, counselors, principals, and teachers are also encouraged to nominate students.
In the application, students detail their area of interests; provide nomination and reference letters from a teacher, employer, or counselor; describe personal experiences in relevant subjects; and detail other examples of the student’s potential and passion for a circular economy.
There is no cost to participate in the program, and instead, students will receive a stipend of $500, daily lunches (free of charge), and a certificate of completion. For the students, the unique opportunities and experience of working with highly qualified instructors and gaining knowledge, skills, and expertise will not end after the program is completed. Each participant will not only have access to community network building and professional development, but also letters of recommendations and portfolio-quality design work that can be used in the short-term for college and/or internship applications, and in the long-term for future leadership positions and career choices.
“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.”