“A Better World by Design” is back this weekend for its sixth year of, well, designing a better world. If the title of the conference sounds like a Brown course title/general mantra to you, you’re on the right track: it was started by Brown and RISD students as a lecture series, and has grown into a three-day conference with 75 presenters. The conference “cultivates a global community of socially-conscious and passionate innovators” through workshops, panels and speakers, so it’s basically everything cool (un)packed together. And you barely have to get off the Hill—all of the events are held at Brown and RISD.
Even if you’re not an engineering concentrator, there is something for you at the conference; it stresses that design is everywhere, even in fields that are not stereotypically design-oriented. For instance, one of the featured presenters is Alexander Eaton, who is the CEO of a startup designing a renewable energy technology to convert human waste into organic fertilizer (if you’ve seen the signs in bathroom stalls asking “Where does your poop go?”, get the answer here). Another cool panel is on Whole Foods’ journey into sustainable design, as deliciously overpriced groceries better be eco-friendly.
“A Better World by Design” won’t let you just sit and listen to speakers and panelists, though; they want you to dive in and start designing. There are lots of workshops to choose from throughout the weekend, ranging from Lego as a Creative Tool to Project Hip Hop. The most hyped workshop is the MAKEaTHON, where participants get to hack smartphones, and use 3D printers and laser cutters to make their own product. Nerdgasm.
The conference is Friday, September 27th to Sunday, September 29th, and the online registration cutoff is this Wednesday (though you can register on-site the day of). A three-day pass gets you access to all content, seven meals, and social events with open bars (yes, we said OPEN BARS). The student pricing is awesome (it’s already cheaper than seven meal credits), and this is one time we’re glad that we’re not “professionals.”
You’re probably thinking, ‘This all sounds great, but who has time for a three-day conference?’ You’re in luck: you can get a one-day pass and pick and choose the events you want to go to. It’s also an awesome break from your usual weekend hangover routine; in fact, the conference’s theme is “pause + effect.” We’re all about reflection, design, and punny titles, so you should definitely check it out.