Solving Environmental Problems

Solving Environmental Problems

At the 2013 National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., SJSU students proposed applying 3D printer technology to make sustainable building materials. Using saw dust instead of plastic, the team is making inexpensive window coverings such as shades and shutters that can be tailored easily to local climates (EPA photo).

San Jose State Department of Design students comprised one of seven teams that have received a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency People, Prosperity and the Planet award of up to $90,000. “The students that participated in this competition — and young people across the country — continue to give me confidence that our next generation of American scientists and engineers are up to the task of solving the world’s most pressing environmental problems,” said Bob Perciasepe acting administrator for the EPA. Three hundred student innovators from 45 teams convened on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., this spring to showcase sustainable projects to protect people’s health and the environment, encourage economic growth, and use natural resources more efficiently. The winning teams will use their grants to further develop their design and potentially bring it to the marketplace. The students proposed using saw dust instead of plastic to create inexpensive building materials, customized for local climates, with 3D printer technology.

Sal Pizarro: SJSU Foundry, Alumni Artists Create Guadalupe River Park Sculptures

Pizarro: Shining scenes of childhood whimsy

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News May 26, 2012.

New public art in the Guadalupe River Park has managed to capture the whimsy of childhood — in aluminum.

Two scenes of children at play were unveiled Thursday at the park that snakes through downtown San Jose. One, titled “Ready or Not,” has kids playing hide-and-seek in the park near Julian Street. The other, “Prepare for Takeoff,” plays off the park’s spot in the flight path of Mineta San Jose International Airport. The scene shows one child pointing up at an imagined airplane with another readying a paper airplane for launch.

Shirley Lewis, the former San Jose city councilwoman and current president of the downtown Rotary Club, was the driving force behind the project. She enlisted a committee led by Hopkins & Carley attorney Jay Ross and Guadalupe River Park Conservancy Executive Director Leslee Hamilton. After weighing various options, the group discovered a hidden gem right in San Jose where the statues could be designed and produced locally: the foundry at San Jose State University.

Steve Davis and Ryan Carrington, who both received advanced degrees at San Jose State last year, were the artists who created the statues at the foundry over the past few months. The project, Davis said, “let us get in touch with our inner child.”

There’s room for more, too — if more funding sources are found. The Rotary Children’s Sculpture Walk allows for up to 10 total scenes that could follow a path from the Children’s Discovery Museum to the site near Coleman Avenue where the Rotary Club plans to build a play garden to commemorate its upcoming centennial.

“This project has far exceeded my expectations,” Lewis said, “because of the generous commitment of the talent, time and resources of many.”

ocean mural with fish, turtles, sharks, kelp

Students’ Murals Foster Community at Family Shelter

sketch showing sea life

The murals will be painted inside two main stairwells, and will feature five-story images of a forest and full aquatic biosphere that will showcase the biological diversity that California has to offer (School of Art and Design image).

By Ryan Whitchurch, Public Affairs Assistant

The San Jose Family Shelter is teaming up with the School of Art and Design to provide 35 families with a better sense of home and community.

A group of fine arts graduate students known as the “Dirty Brushes” is in the process of creating a pair of murals inside the shelter’s new facility two blocks from its existing site near Las Plumas Avenue and North King Road in San Jose.

“Working with the artists allows us to provide much needed supportive services in a comforting and welcoming setting to our residents while giving the students real-world experience in their chosen field of study,” said Chloe Shipp, development coordinator for San Jose’s Family Supportive Housing Inc.

The San Jose Family Shelter provides temporary housing and counseling services for families while parents look for work and permanent residences.

The murals will be painted inside two main stairwells, and will feature five-story images of a forest and full aquatic biosphere that will showcase the biological diversity that California has to offer.

exterior of apartments under construction

The San Jose Family Shelter provides temporary housing and counseling services (San Jose Family Shelter image).

The forest mural will start on the first floor with the forest floor, and work its way up through the trees into the sky as it approaches the top floor.

Likewise, the aquatic biosphere mural will begin with the deep ocean on the bottom floor, and work its way up to tide pools and shoreline.

The “Dirty Brushes” began by creating sketches of their plans. After the sketches are approved, the students will start painting. The San Jose Family Shelter plans to open their new location this April, funded by community donors.

The shelter partners with many more Spartans.Nursing students are developing a health and nutrition curriculum for children at the shelter, and occupational therapy students host various workshops depending on the time of year, such as a summer camp for seven to 12-year-olds.

Check out the San Jose Family Shelter’s website to find out how you can get involved or donate to the mural project.

Woman wearing dark colors showcases her prosthetic right leg, which has a white pattern and is shiny. It contains customized fairings from Bespoke Innovations. Photo courtesy of Bespoke Innovations.

Alumnus Adds Personal Touch to Prosthetic Limbs

By Sarah Kyo, Public Affairs Assistant

Black-and-white portrait of SJSU alumnus Scott Summit, co-founder of Bespoke Innovations

SJSU alumnus Scott Summit uses 3-D technology to personalize prosthetic limbs. Photo courtesy of Bespoke Innovations.

Design, medicine and technology merge at the San Francisco workplace of SJSU alumnus Scott Summit, ’94, Industrial Design. His company Bespoke Innovations uses 3-D technology to create customized fairings, which are covers that attach to prosthetic limbs to re-create human form.

According to Bespoke Innovations’ website, a camera scans a person’s existing leg and captures imagery that is flipped on a computer. For a double-amputee, someone with appropriate build would be a stand-in for the scanning. The person selects from a variety of customization options, including materials, styles and appearance — even tattoos. Finally, a 3-D printer prints out the actual fairing.

For its fairings, Bespoke Innovations ended 2011 on a high note with a Good Design Award, a global award for new designs and products. Months prior, Summit and fellow designer Chris Campbell also earned a GOLD Idea award from the Industrial Designers Society.

His Design Ecosystem

With more than 20 years of overall experience in the industry and multiple awards, Summit credits his alma mater for some of his success.

“SJSU was a great ecosystem for me to explore design,” he said. “Though it lacked the funding and facilities of other design departments, the students and faculty were passionate and driven.”

His most influential professor in the Industrial Design Program was Tomasz Migurski.

“I suspect I was a headache to him, since I was certain at the time that I was the best designer that would ever be,” Summit said. “His assignments left me humbled, which I’ve since come to accept is the most important stage for any aspiring designer. I ended up working far harder to learn to think like a designer than I had at anything prior.”

Helping Others Through Creativity

In 2009, Summit co-founded Bespoke Innovations with orthopedic surgeon Kenneth Trauner. An interview with the New York Times about 3-D printing led to the company’s big break.

“I suspected the story would amount to nothing more than a passing mention deep in the paper, so I was willing to offer up the concept before we had a business plan to back it up,” Summit said. “The story ended up on the front page, above the fold, with a picture, and was the most forwarded story for weeks after. Needless to say, we were inundated with interest, and quickly scrambled to add people to fill the voids in what became a business.”

Personalized prostheses are just a small portion of what Summit and Bespoke Innovations would like to do to enhance people’s quality of life. Summit sees the global potential of using 3-D technology, which already creates fairings in a quicker amount of time and at a fraction of the cost it would have taken to make them by hand.

“Soon anyone, anywhere, may have access to the same kind of care that one might have in Silicon Valley or New York,” he said. “I tell myself that we’ll be able to offer a process where a person in Botswana may be treated with the same quality of care as someone in the U.S., with no more tools than Internet access, a camera and an iPad.”

Summit advised students to pursue their passions and skills because “there is nothing more rewarding than doing what you love, while helping people who need your creativity.”

“There are endless human challenges and needs, and creativity is the greatest nutrient to find the solutions,” he said. “The new tools change daily, so a student should be prepared to be dynamic, to react to the changing world and to invent their way through the world.”

A desktop cell phone holder and charging dock lying on a flat surface. The design resembles a robot and is made out of sheet metal.

Design Class Offers Last-Minute Gift Ideas

A desktop cell phone holder and charging dock lying on a flat surface. The design resembles a robot and is made out of sheet metal.

Sophomore industrial design student Frances Cheng created the Desk Minion for "Making It," a new design class that focuses on taking an idea from concept to actual product.

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Looking for a last-minute gift idea? We know a few emerging artists who can help!

Students enrolled in the new “Making It” class did more than sketch a product this term. They built and sold some of the most innovative office supplies around.

“Other classes are designing something to improve an existing piece or applying innovation to a product,” instructor Patrick Enright said. “The students in this class learned how to simplify their design in order to manufacture it quickly.”

DSID 133 students had three to four weeks to design and craft their products. They spent the rest of the semester refining retail sales points, and then marketing their creations on Etsy.com.

The Desk Minion

One student “making it” was sophomore industrial design student Frances Cheng.

“I designed a desktop cell phone holder and charging dock,” Cheng said. “My desk is kind of messy so I wanted to make something where I could have a designated place to keep my cell phone.”

She named her product “Desk Minion,” given its ability to hold a variety of items like general electronics, business cards and keys. Also, line up a bunch of her creations, and they look a lot like battle droids.

Cheng designed her template in Adobe Illustrator, and then used a water jet machine at downtown San Jose’s TechShop and the sheet metal brake in the Art Building to cut and bend 50 Desk Minions.

It’s too soon to tell if any of these students has a big hit, yet the potential is there.

“The class just went public two weeks ago,” Enright said. “Some of them have made some sales and they are all getting a lot of site reviews.”

View all of the “Making It” products.

Screen shot showing main navigation of the new sjsu.edu

SJSU Launches New, Student-Designed Website

By Sarah Kyo and Cyril Manning, University Advancement

A new and improved version of the San Jose State website launches Nov. 15. The redesign of SJSU.edu features a cleaner appearance, improved navigation, and a consistent set of templates designed for adoption by departments throughout campus.

“Because of San Jose State’s broad audience, we needed to include a large amount of information in a way that makes everything easy to find,” said Christina Olivas, web designer for SJSU’s Office of Public Affairs. “This was a huge challenge.”

The student-run design studio Design Creature, led by Associate Professor Connie Hwang, was up for that challenge. The student designers created the site’s look and feel based on extensive research and input from the campus community.

Here, Design Creature lead designers Kate Alcid, Nicholas Gonzalez, Marco Huerta and Sean Stanton (all of whom have since graduated) highlight some of the site’s new features:

Screen shot showing main navigation of the new sjsu.edu

Main navigation

Clear navigation & audience-focused “portal pages”
“The main navigation bar (along the top of every page) is tailored to specific audiences,” Huerta said. “We hope this will help users find the content they want in as few as three clicks.” In addition, each audience has a “portal page” that includes resources, news and information specific to their needs. Users will also become familiar with secondary navigation on the right-hand side of the pages as they delve deeper into the site.

Quick links & getting social
“We researched what pages had the most hits, and brought those together on the home page under the ‘quick links’ drop-down menu,” Huerta said. In addition, every page includes prominent icons for accessing key content — MySJSU, Athletics and donating to the university — and integration with social networks.

Improved search
The search bar now features Google-style “search-as-you-type.” The new pages have been constructed to work better with search, so as more pages are migrated to the new design and indexed by the search engine, users will continue to see improvements in their search results.

Screen shot of quick links and icons on the new sjsu.edu

Quick links and icons

Brilliant imagery
A new photo slide-show on the home page “allows users to explore our campus without having to be there,” Gonzalez said. “This feature is intended to drive interest among future students, as well as to allow alumni to ‘visit’ campus.” Beyond the virtual tour, photography has been updated across the site to better convey the character of SJSU.

Consistency & flexibility
The design and new content management system will allow individual departments to share a cohesive look that tells the outside world, “We’re part of San Jose State.” At the same time, the templates are flexible enough to let every department shine and show off its unique personality.

“We designed a template system that allows all departments and colleges to adopt the new design with ease,” Huerta said. “Their content will be displayed beautifully.”

Screen shot of search-as-you-type function on the new sjsu.edu

Search-as-you-type

The great migration
Three departments–Web Services, Public Affairs and University Technology Services–have worked over the past year to implement Design Creature’s ideas.

So far, only top-level sjsu.edu web pages and a handful of university subsites have been migrated to the new design, although many others have begun the migration process. Web Services is offering ongoing training and support to departments and programs as they migrate their own sites to the new design.

Most importantly, the new site was developed with the recognition that technology, user needs, and expectations will continue to change. Even at its launch, new features and improvements to the site are in the works. With the site intended to evolve over time, feedback from the campus community is always welcome.

Related links
Web Redesign Style Guidelines (draft)

Read FAQs about the SJSU Website Redesign 2011.

Learn more about migrating your SJSU website to the new design.

SJSU in the News: Art Majors Turn Student Union Construction Site Barrier “Into a Thing of Beauty”

Pizarro: San Jose State students give construction site an artistic look

Originally published by the San Jose Mercury News Sept. 11, 2011.

By Sal Pizarro

Students and faculty in San Jose State’s art and art history departments have collaborated to turn a potential campus eyesore into a thing of beauty.

With demolition and construction taking place over the next two years on the university’s expanded student union, blue barrier walls have been constructed around the area, an often-used thoroughfare for campus pedestrians. But the creative teams from the university — a club dubbed the Dirty Brushes — have turned the blank wood walls into a canvas for a series of student-replicated self-portraits by well-known artists such as Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo and Picasso.

There’s also an interactive component, thanks to a guided phone tour (call 408-213-4295), narrated by art department Chairman Brian Taylor, who provides some information about the project, “Better than Blue.” On the phone tour, students also give the background of many of the self-portraits.

For probably the first time, it’ll be a real shame to see construction walls come down when the project is completed in 2013.

SJSU in the News: Art Majors Turn Student Union Construction Site Barrier "Into a Thing of Beauty"

Pizarro: San Jose State students give construction site an artistic look

Originally published by the San Jose Mercury News Sept. 11, 2011.

By Sal Pizarro

Students and faculty in San Jose State’s art and art history departments have collaborated to turn a potential campus eyesore into a thing of beauty.

With demolition and construction taking place over the next two years on the university’s expanded student union, blue barrier walls have been constructed around the area, an often-used thoroughfare for campus pedestrians. But the creative teams from the university — a club dubbed the Dirty Brushes — have turned the blank wood walls into a canvas for a series of student-replicated self-portraits by well-known artists such as Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo and Picasso.

There’s also an interactive component, thanks to a guided phone tour (call 408-213-4295), narrated by art department Chairman Brian Taylor, who provides some information about the project, “Better than Blue.” On the phone tour, students also give the background of many of the self-portraits.

For probably the first time, it’ll be a real shame to see construction walls come down when the project is completed in 2013.

SJSU in the News: 31st Annual Italian Festa Founded by Late Professor and Wife

Italian Festa makes its way to downtown San Jose on Aug. 27, 28

Originally published by the San Jose Mercury News Aug. 25, 2011.

By Mary Gottschalk

Italian Americans and those who love Italian food, wine and culture will gather Aug. 27 and 28 in Guadalupe River Park for the 31st Italian Family Festa.

Organized by the Italian American Heritage Foundation, the Festa is admission-free and is spread out in the park along the river from Julian to Santa Clara streets in the area that’s being transformed into Little Italy.

Banners listing the contributions and accomplishments of local Italian Americans from the past and present, were unveiled on Aug. 21 and will be in place for the Festa.

Attendees can feast on such favorites as ravioli, spaghetti and meatballs, polenta, cannoli, eggplant Parmesan and calamari. Those with a sweet tooth will find satisfaction with sfingi, a deep-fried dough dessert, as well as pizzelle, gelato and biscotti.

There will be wines made by local Italian American vintners as well as wines imported from Italy, along with beers and soft drinks.

Shoppers will find a mix of goods, including imported Venetian masks, jewelry made from Murano glass and beads, marionettes and inlaid wooden music boxes from Sorrento.

Gourmands who find a treat they like can buy cookbooks and many of the needed ingredients to make their own. There will be olives and olive oils, mustards, sauces, vinegars and packaged biscotti.

Live entertainment is part of the festa draw, and Pasquale returns as the headliner, performing from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 27.

There will be continuous entertainment from 1:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the 27th and from noon to 6 p.m. on the 28th.

A bocce ball court will be set up for those who want to try playing the game and the always popular grape stomping is set for 3 p.m. on the 28th.

The Festa owes its existence to the late John De Vincenzi.

De Vincenzi, an artist and an art professor at San Jose State University, took his wife and daughter to Italy in 1974 when he was on sabbatical.

There he became interested in the village festas held all over and decided he wanted to re-create the feeling when he returned to San Jose.

One of the things De Vincenzi did was supervise the building of a cart like the colorful, ornate ones drawn by donkeys in Sicily in the 1920s. Models of the carts remain popular souvenirs for tourists even today.

The carts are boxy in shape and covered with carvings and brightly painted scenes of history. De Vincenzi painted scenes from the history of Santa Clara County for his cart, on view at every Festa.

De Vincenzi and his wife Lonnie, also deceased, chaired the first dozen festas and enlisted the help of other local Italian Americans. Many families remain volunteers to this day with some having as many as four generations participating.

The first festa was held in 1977, in conjunction with the city of San Jose’s Bicentennial.

It was the first ethnic festival to be held downtown, and over the years it grew into both the largest and oldest Italian American festival on the West Coast, attracting crowds of 50,000 to 100,000.

Locations changed as it moved to the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds and in 1996 it was held at Town & Country Village Shopping Center, now the site of Santana Row.

However attendance dropped to 10,000 in 2003 when the festa returned to downtown San Jose and Discovery Meadows.

There was no festa in 2004 and 2005, but in 2006 it was revived by Sal Caruso, past president of the Italian American Heritage Foundation. He approached Santana Row about staging it there, and it was a smashing success, attracting more than 30,000 people.

Unfortunately, parking turned out to be in short supply so after two years, the IAHF moved the festa to Willow Glen, where it was held in 2008 and 2009.

In 2010 it moved to its current location.

A fundraiser for the IAHF Youth Scholarship Program, the 31st Italian American Heritage Foundation Family Festa takes place Aug. 27 from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Aug. 28 from noon to 6 p.m. at Guadalupe River Park, between Julian and Santa Clara streets. There is no admission charge.

For more information on the festa, visit http://festa.iahfsj.org.

Schedule

Aug 27:

Noon–Opening ceremony with dignitaries.
1:30 p.m.–Pasquale Esposito
3 p.m.–Fratello Marionettes
4 p.m.–West Bay Opera
5:15 p.m.–Trio Davide
7 p.m.–Bella Ciao

Aug. 28:

Noon–West Bay Opera
1:30 p.m.–Fratello Marionettes
2:30 p.m.–Chris Gardner as Dean Martin
3 p.m.–Grape Stomping
4 p.m. –The Don Giovannis

MFA Photo Exchange Students show two Russian Photographers in front of San Jose City Hall.

Photo Exchange Program Yields “Yekaterinburg and San Jose Through the Eyes of One Another”

MFA Photo Exchange Students show two Russian Photographers in front of San Jose City Hall.

Jennifer Easton, public arts manager from the San Jose Public Arts Program, guides MFA grad students and two Russian photographers at San Jose City Hall (Photo by Robin Lasser).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

When they received a call last October from the U.S. Consul General in Yekaterinburg, Russia, asking SJSU to take part in an international photo exchange program, professors Brian Taylor and Robin Lasser knew they had a great opportunity on their hands.

Photography chair Art Taylor explained why this particular exchange was different than most.

“Yekaterinburg and San Jose are sister cities,” Taylor said. “There have been other cultural exchanges where one city would send an artist here and we would send an artist there. But never have there been two photographers as part of an exchange. It’s definitely a first.”

Representing the United States, Lasser, Taylor, and SJSU alumna Adrienne Pao visited Yekaterinburg in May 2011. The Americans toured the Urals region of Russia and photographed Lasser and Pao’s Russian-style “dress tent” now on display in Yekaterinburg’s Natural History Museum, in various locations around the city.  Lasser and Pao have created an entire series of dress tents they describe as “wearable architecture” that is “installed and worn in the landscape in order to be photographed.”

Local Interpretations, Russian Impressions

Last week, two Russian photographers from Yekaterinburg, Sophia Nasyrova and Denis Tarasov, visited San Jose. Eight SJSU photo grad students in the Master of Fine Arts photography program worked alongside the Russian photographers as they traveled all over Northern California, giving their local interpretations in exchange for Russian impressions.

Sites included the Di Rosa Gatehouse Gallery in Napa, the Apple headquarters in Cupertino, downtown San Jose, Moffett Field, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Mare Island, a former Naval base in Vallejo that represents a shared common victory for the United States and Russia during the second World War.

“In shaping this international exchange and as the project lead, I tried to think of the long standing and historical relationship we’ve had with Russia,” Lasser said. “Places we visited explored not only the past relationships of military, church and state, but also and art and technology.”

The cultural experience in San Jose broke into philosophical discussions each night at dinner, where the photo grad students and Russian photographers shared historical and artistic perspectives. The Russian photographers brought a slideshow of the history of Russian photography as well as contemporary work.

Sister Cities

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed presented the two Russian photographers with plaques signed by all counsel members. Commendations were also given to credit their work and to commemorate the sister city relationship.

The photographs from this exchange will be exhibited on the Mayor’s Floor at City Hall this August. Simultaneously, the work will be displayed in Russia at the Metenkhov House Photo Museum. According to Lasser, a book on the project will be published in Moscow.

The SJSU  School of Art and Design offers two graduate degrees, the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and Master of Arts (MA) programs. An undergraduate degree in photojournalism is offered by the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.