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Design for your local community at createRU

Learn more about why we chose this prompt and our college town: New Brunswick, NJ.

Whether or not you’re a student at Rutgers, it’s likely that your university has made a significant impact on the town it’s located in. As student designers, we can try to address some of the social, political, and economic issues beyond our campuses by exploring problem spaces, working through the design thinking process, and building with empathy.
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At Rutgers, our flagship campus is located in New Brunswick, NJ. The city is a diverse ecosystem of students, faculty, and administration. Small businesses such as restaurants and shopping malls populate New Brunswick and contribute to a vibrant culture and landscape for Rutgers students.
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However, there are noticeable disconnects between students and locals in New Brunswick. 12.2% and 7.82% of students enrolled at Rutgers-New Brunswick are Hispanic/Latino and Black, respectively. Yet New Brunswick itself consists of 46.8% and 16.2% of Hispanic/Latino and Black families, respectively.

In addition to being underrepresented, local families also face challenges such as food insecurity, lack of access to affordable housing, and disparities in education.
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How can we use design to support the communities that surround our universities?
What are some challenges facing your local community? How can design be leveraged to support families, individuals, and organizations?

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