FALL 2014

Studio members learn design thinking through semester-long projects and workshops, mentorship, and feedback critiques with industry professionals with backgrounds ranging from design to social entrepreneurship. Fall 2014 teams tackled areas including youth engagement, homelessness, community divides, mental health, and water conservation.

TEAM YOUTH EDUCATION

Geronimo C Ramos, Troy Harwood, Joy Shen, Sara Yang 

Geronimo C Ramos, Troy Harwood, Joy Shen, Sara Yang 

TEAM MENTAL HEALTH

Sarang Shankar, Jean Pongsai, Bianca Nasser, Tyler Matheson

Sarang Shankar, Jean Pongsai, Bianca Nasser, Tyler Matheson

[SLIDE DECK]

Problem: Social Stigma often deters those with mental illness from accessing health care treatment or maximizing their potential. Gone untreated, mental illness can cause severe physical health issues, poor quality of life, or even death.

Mission: How might we empower homeless women and provide the homeless population with increased access to available resources in the surrounding USC area?

Key Ideas

#safenotSCared- An interactive experience that facilitates safe conversations through the use of public & private spaces, peer to peer education, resource partnerships and digital platforms. 

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TEAM WATER DROUGHT

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Chrystal Li, Sarah Sherman, Danielle Thouin, Soham Dhesi

[SLIDE DECK]

TEAM HOMELESSNESS

Gabriel Lam, Lorna Xu, Gabriela Schweizer, Merhawi Yohannes

Gabriel Lam, Lorna Xu, Gabriela Schweizer, Merhawi Yohannes

[SLIDE DECK]

Problem: The vulnerability of homeless women in USC’s surrounding areas - large population of homeless women in LA area are disempowered, vulnerable to assault, and mentally restrained by their current situation.

Key Insights:    

  1.  Limited resources in Skid Row                                                                                                                 
  2.  Neglect and non-personalized support
  3.  cyclical relationship between mental health and homelessness
  4.  there is a demand for female empowerment and raising their self-esteem.

Mission: How might we empower homeless women and provide the homeless population with increased access to available resources in the surrounding USC area?

Key Ideas:

  1. Methods of creating systematic change within women - providing information about resources through personalized maps and diagrams. connecting female USC students and the homeless female population, beauty workshops, self-defense courses involving interaction and empowerment, working with USC female-oriented organizations.
  2.  Yelp for Homeless people- information service (maps w/ legend including USC events and LA events for homeless people)
     

Moving Forward: Build a system of maps/schedule/legend that lists relative information and resources for the homeless population, such as planned events and locations. Maps will include soup kitchens, homeless shelters, centers, USC planned events, etc. Also, self-defense class to help empower women.


TEAM GENTRIFICATION

Vaishali Mullapudi, Shawn Ren, Justin Charness, Trevor Gutierrez

Vaishali Mullapudi, Shawn Ren, Justin Charness, Trevor Gutierrez

[SLIDE DECK]

Problem: Through our initial research, we found there to be an apparent cultural and social divide between USC students and surrounding community members (“local residents”). This divide was amplified by the increasing security measures put in place by the university and the pervading perception that all local residents are dangerous. We identified an opportunity to create a better relationship between USC students and local residents.

Key Insights:
1. Students were apathetic about interacting with or learning from local residents.
2. Students felt there weren’t “safe” environments where they could interact in a natural manner with local residents.
3. While USC led numerous outreach and volunteer initiatives, they had an entitled overtone (“we’re educated, let us help you”), rather than fostering neighborly conversation.
4. The environment definitely the kind of interaction that happens between USC student - local

Mission: To foster mutually beneficial relationships between USC students and local residents. We hoped to achieve this goal through creating environments and/or experiences which encouraged face to face interaction and neighborly conversations.

Key Ideas:
1. Conversations Over Pie: A weekly event hosted at the local farmers market to bring together local residents and students to talk over pie. Each week has a different pie theme and questions to spark conversations.
2. Local Food Kickback: Host a kickback where local residents cook food from their culture
on USC’s campus. Have a few bands (student or local) that give it a laidback vibe, so
people will stay and perhaps chat.
3. Humans of USC: Feature local community members in the already existing Humans
of USC Facebook page so students will see locals as more than just strangers on the street

Moving Forward: 
Since we only have a few weeks left, we do not think it would be suitable to host Conversations Over Pie or a Local Food Kickback, both of which require an extended period of time for planning/executing. We do however hope to collaborate with the existing Humans of USC Facebook page to focus more on showcasing local community members and providing them a platform to share their stories. Our vision is to organize group excursions during the spring semester to meet local community members and document their stories.