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Student Mental Health (2019 Fall— ongoing)
DFA NYU started this project in Fall 2019 to explore how we might provide better
access to mental health services for college students.
We realized that there was a social stigma around mental health which made it different for students to articulate their issue and seek help (of a professional or even a friend).
Students were not always aware of the support services offered by NYU or had a hard time navigating them. Yet, we also found that some students were resilient and creative in developing their own strategies to cope with stress and anxiety.
As COVID-19 led to campus closure in spring 2020 and brought significantly
stress to everyone’s day-to-day lives, being able to protect students’ mental well-being has become even more important. Indeed, research suggests that the pandemic worsened pre-existing mental health conditions, mainly due to school closures, loss of routine, and restricted social connections (YoungMinds, 2020).
This Spring, building upon last year’s and last semester’s research, we are planning to do more design research and start ideating and prototyping to develop solutions to better promote and support college students’ mental health well-being.

The Freedge (2019 fall—ongoing )

Since 2016, DFA NYU has developed NYU FREEdge, a community
fridge aiming to reduce food waste and food insecurity by sharing leftovers and extra food.

In fall 2019 after a year “off”, with the support of the Design Lab @ NYU MakerSpace, we successfully revived the FREEdge, located outside of the MakerSpace. While the FREEdge was used by many, much work is still needed to clarify its mission and the way to use it as well as grow a community of supporters to help take care of the FREEdge.

This fall we have iterated our design based on the insights we gathered last year while exploring
how we could use this model to help local communities around NYU campuses. Indeed, in spring 2020, during the lockdown, as many people lost their jobs, several community fridges popped up in NYC showing the value of a community fridge model, and we are looking to expand our impact on local communities.  Details click here.


NEW! Civic Engagement(Fall 2020—ongoing)

How might we encourage young people to vote and become actively engaged citizens?

In a perfect world, there are certain issues that wouldn’t exist. Yet, we definitely don’t live in a perfect world. We need a change in the status quo in order to create a more hopeful, sustainable, and equitable future for the coming generations. Young people as citizens have an important say and role in the world of tomorrow and it is essential that they take on this role and contribute to the development of their societies. Through civic engagement, we can manifest our passion for change, discuss community issues, learn how to share publicly our views with confidence, and actively participate in our democracy.

This project will explore the many ways we can use digital technology to engage our young people to actively participate and be civic leaders in our community. We started in the fall by focusing on voting as it’s a great opportunity to start having an impact while doing research to better understand the problem space and develop a more focused scope for the spring. Details click here.


NEW! TECH EQUITY IN THE BRONX (Fall 2020—ongoing)

“How might we provide access to technology for all students in the Bronx?” In other words, “How might we bring technological equity to the Bronx?”

This project has an impact beyond the pandemics. If COVID-19 has highlighted the needs of youth in the Bronx and made its consequences visible, the need for technological equity goes beyond. It has been shown that the impact of the digital divide in the Bronx has been detrimental to the livelihood of many children and adults in the community.

We would like to address this problem in a unique collaboration with DreamYard, an organization that since 1994 collaborates with Bronx youth, families, and schools to build pathways to equity and opportunity through the arts, in order to make sure to design “with” rather than “for” the community, and with the desire to share our passion for human-centered design. Details click here.