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College of Design

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Preparing for my Internship

HLmn.pngLife has been busy this past week as I've been getting acclimated to my new school and work schedule, and getting trained in at my new internship at HOME Line, a statewide nonprofit tenant advocacy organization headquartered in Minneapolis. Soon, I will be speaking directly with tenants and offering legal advice (under the watchful eyes of several attorneys on staff) regarding various rental housing issues. Although this is a volunteer position, I will receive course internship credits which will count towards my housing studies degree, and a great deal of experience as well. I'm excited to get going and use my skills to help others!

WillMitchDay_L.jpgThis past Saturday, the upcoming HOME Line interns/volunteers (mostly law students) and I attended a day-long training session at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. The organization's attorneys took turns guiding us through the basics and specifics of Minnesota landlord and tenant law from the application to move out/eviction procedures. It was both interesting and enlightening, and it was a good way to get to know the attorneys we will be working under. I also got to know a few new people, which is always nice.

Stay posted for updates!

- Jesse LaMaack
Housing Studies, B.S.

Class Impressions

Hi friends! This week I think I'll inform you on how my classes are looking so far and some of my first impressions. This semester I am taking four classes, a credit-load of fifteen credits. Fifteen or sixteen credits is about average student's credit-load, but some take more and some take less; it depends on the student and how he or she manages time and schoolwork. Within my four classes, three of them are four credit courses and one is three credits; four credits typically means a little bit of a larger work-load, but it's looking like my three credit one is going to be about the same. The classes I am taking are Computer Literacy (PSTL 1571), International Retail Markets (RM 4217), Marketing Research (MKTG 3010), and Surface Design: Color and Form (GDES 3312).

PSTL 1517 is looking like it's going to be pretty manageable and easily understood. The class is computer based so it is not a requirement to attend the class's designated timeslot, except on test days and whenever you want/need help from the professor, who seems very nice and willing to help. The only thing that I need to be concerned about in this class is being diligent in keeping up with my assignments, since it is not required to physically go to class.


MKTG 3010 is looking to be my hardest class, mostly because statistics are a large part of Marketing Research and statistics was never my strong suit in math. However, the professor seems to be very willing to help. So it just looks like I'm going to need to put in a little extra effort in this course and be willing to go to the professor's office hours to get help on the things that I don't fully understand.

RM 4217 is a class that is both online based and classroom based. We have physical lectures some days and on other days we simply need to go online for live chats, discussions, and assignments. I had my first live chat class session today, it was very interesting and a bit chaotic trying to keep up with everyone, but luckily the professor figured out the issue and it will be sorted out by the next live chat. I am excited to see how this class format progresses.

GDES 3312 is the course I am taking to complete my Design Minor and is looking to be my most hands on and possibly most time consuming course; this is because it is studio based and if I have homework I will need to go to the studio itself to complete it. But the course is looking like it's going to be fun, so I'm excited.

-Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Architecture with Hearts

Hello again,

I am beyond excited because the Public Interest Design Week is coming up! What is Public Interest Design? Well, let me sum it up for you. It is using design as a method of making the world a better place and by helping others through the things we can, such as architecture and design. If it helps, you can think about emergency shelters, affordable housing, etc.

The College of Design is a proud host of the first, ever, Public Interest Design Week during March 19-24. This week is full with good stuff, great speakers, amazing projects, and many more. The best thing is, it will be in Minneapolis! At the College of Design! Right at Rapson Hall! Moreover, students can attend at a very discounted price, and even free for some events. There is no excuse not to attend.


It is a big deal. People are coming from all over the country and around the world for this event. This is a must attend for us. There are many things you can do as an architecture students relating to public interest design. Our graduate students have done some work in Haiti, the B.D.A. program also have some courses relating public interest design. We also have several student group on campus such as Freedom By Design, doing great works for our community. It is important as a designer that we all take responsibility in creating the world a better place. Be an architect with a good heart!

See you next blog!
Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.

Exciting Projects for the Semester!

Now that we are more than a week into the semester, I thought I would use this blog to talk about my classes that I am excited about and some of the projects we will be doing in them. I think it's pretty safe to say that as you progress into your final semesters in the Graphic Design program, the required studios, as well as those available to take as electives, become more exciting and more applicable to what your career may entail after graduation. However, without great foundation courses and lower level studios, we would likely be much less successful in these upper level studios. Below is a brief overview of the projects I am excited about in my 3 studios this semester:

GD 2 - Identity and Symbols:
A majority of this studio will consist of developing a visual identity and brand for a business of your choosing. That doesn't sound too hard, but when you account for all of the steps that go into creating a successful brand from scratch, it begins to be a bit overwhelming. After choosing a business to create and brand, a symbol and logotype, stationary system and business cards, website design, and graphic standards manual for the company will be created. No matter where you are at in the program, it wouldn't be a bad idea to start brainstorming now about a business you might want to brand in GD2!

GD 3 - Packaging Design:firesticks.jpg
We will do 3 main packaging designs in GD3. First, we are redesigning the packaging (and branding if necessary) of a sport related product. After searching REI and Dick's Sporting Goods for a package I'd like to redesign, I settled a pretty ugly fire-starting stick package (shown right). The other two packaging designs we will do will be a beverage package redesign as well as some sort of candy bar or nutrition bar. A hands-on class that lets you get away from the computer (at least sometimes) should be fun!

Interactive Design:
This is probably the class I am most excited for this semester! If you ever have the chance to take a class with Ange Wang, definitely do it. She is a great teacher and often creates projects with real clients that could result in a job or internship outside of class. On Monday, we met with our clients for our first project, a website redesign. We will be doing usability evaluations, prototyping redesigns, and developing a new website for the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators. As you can tell by their site that was created in 2005, they are in desperate need of a new site! We will also be working on a personal interactive project of our choosing throughout the semester - more on that later!

Have a great rest of the week!

Sean Mateer
Graphic Design


Hope everyone is getting back into the swing of classes and winter time! The second week of classes always seems to make more sense and the initial stress of "back to school" wears off. This semester I am taking a great class called Soft-lines, which is where we work with Target to create a product (typically apparel) and create the entire campaign from start to finish. This means designing the product, researching the target market, creating a sample of the product, testing the product, and creating the entire advertising and merchandising campaign. This involves both my apparel design major and my retail merchandising minor, which is great because that will most likely be something I do in my job in the future. The class is made up of my entire class of 17 apparel design seniors, as well as 17 retail merchandising majors, and we work in groups for the semester long project.

A great thing about this class, is that our professor encourages us to sketch as we are in class, as they may lead to project ideas and other design work in the future. This is great because design inspiration comes from random things, and the most random times, so having permission and encouragement to sketch and explore those ideas is great.

Here is a page of my sketches from that class:


Lucie, Apparel Design

Monday, January 28, 2013

To Roma e Arcidosso!

Well I did it. I am in Rome, ROMA, Italia. I had a long journey to get here. But it is incredibly worth it. The city is overwhelming in depth, materiality, density, confusion, and culture. The place the I am staying with the group from the University is in a neighborhood called Trastevere. The people from the offices are incredibly nice and accommodating. There are plenty of restaurants, grocery stores, and bus/train stops to get us all over the city easily.

Thumbnail image for Tevere River view.jpg

The first day I went around the city in circles. Rome was experiencing a transportation strike (apparently on average 1 every 10 days!). I walked a lot and took taxis instead of relying on the buses. Luckily for me, I made all my connections and had lots of help from locals getting around. The picture on the top right is of Piazzo Cavour a beautiful plaza to sit and enjoy some sunshine near the Tevere Fiume (Tibera River). The bottom left is the Town or Comune di Arcidosso (pronounced archidosso) in Southern Tuscany. The Castle is in Arcidosso also, across from the house I stayed in. So close to something that grand, it was a little menacing.
I could go on a while about the charm and ornamental stylings of this place, but I try to be brief, promise! There were bridges connecting houses to alleys and about 20 houses on every street at every level, like nothing I have seen before.

piazza cavour.jpg

castel Arcidosso.jpg

citta arcidosso.jpg

arcidosso doors.jpg

Tomorrow we get our syllabus and group assignments. so nervous and excited. I will keep you all updated, and share my sketchbook!!!

until next time,

Sarah S.
Landscape Design and Planning
BED: May 2014

I'm going digital!

I feel like every time I start a new semester, I try out a new means of organization for my classes. In the past, I've tried physically taking notes in individual notebooks and keeping one binder just to name a couple of the things. This semester though, I'm trying out using my laptop. I'll admit, I've done this in the past, but this time I've got a really good feeling about it.

photo-1.jpgFor starters, computers appeal to me because I can easily reference my notes and everything is legible... I have spell check, and I can easily access notes from course websites to supplement my lectures and study sessions. It's kind of like a magic notebook/binder/planner/computer all wrapped up into my handy (and lightweight) laptop. Since I use a lot of electronic organization as it is, it's kind of nice that I'm always on my computer and always in touch with everything I need. I use Google Calender like it's my religion, I'm obsessed with my email, and obviously I love blogging. By having my personal computer on me at all times, I always have everything handy and I am always able to be productive. Studio IV and my Lighting Design and Safety classes both have a lot of group projects in store for us this semester, and since many other students use Google Calender, it makes it really easy to set up meetings and communicate.

So far, I'm also really liking my laptop for taking notes during lectures. I used to be big on handwritten notes because it gets ingrained in my brain initially better, but I find I can take more thorough notes via my laptop and from there I usually make handwritten flash cards with the important content.

I'll keep you posted on how this digital method goes, but I sure can say I like it so far! How do you guys like taking your notes? Leave a comment below!

Until next time,
Ashley O.
Interior Design

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

ROME!! Here I Come

Hi guys,

I am writing my last blog from the USA for the semester. Tomorrow I leave for Rome, although with a 7 hour leap forward, I do not actually get there until Friday morning. If you have ever traveled for an extended period of time you know how much preparation goes into a trip like this. I HIGHLY recommend studying abroad. The University of MN has so many programs it is super easy to find the perfect program tailored to 1. your field of interest and 2. where ever you want to go in the world.
Getting prepared has been exciting and time consuming. With all of the art supplies I am bringing to Rome My bag was almost a quarter full before I started. I used student legal services to take care of my finances while I am away. Giving someone else control of my property and rights of everything in my life is kinda scary, I feel like an adult.

I went to Rapson Hall the second day of classes and felt so odd. I had no class to attend or assignment to work on. For the most part I had forgotten classes had already started. I just went in to do some final work on the laser cutters. I had some technical difficulties as always! The workshop front desk is amazing, and super knowledgeable if you ever need help or have questions!!!! Just remember to give yourself as much extra time as possible.

So long, farewell, caio!

Sarah S.
Landscape design and planning BED: 2014

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chilly Days and Positive Thoughts

Today was one of those cold days here at the University of Minnesota Campus that some people only hear about on the news; you know, one of those days where the temperature dips into the negatives and people are all bundled up and looking like marshmallows as they walk to class. Luckily, however, it looks like this cold wave will soon be over and the temperature will rise up to about thirty degrees towards the end of the week.

Cold weather is something that we definitely are used to here in Minnesota. And while we sometimes complain and whine about how chilly it can get, I can honestly say that sometimes I really enjoy it when it gets this cold. This is because the cold makes me really appreciate the warm when it comes. Also, there is seriously something so magical and wonderful about getting to experience all four seasons and seeing the changes that occur.

Another cool thing about having all four seasons present is that we (particularly us Retail Major's who are interested in apparel) get to experiment and play with so many different looks and fashions that are made for each season. This is not only fun, but actually somewhat beneficial I think. I mean no matter where we end up working or what company we end up working for, we will have knowledge on the apparel products that are specific to whatever climate area they serve, because we've experienced them all.

(The cold can also be some fun. Today, I frosted my hair and eyelashes, simply by breathing on them (haha). It can kind of also gave me a glimpse of my future self; I am assuming that this is what I will look like at age 76, white hair and all...what do you guys think?)

Sasenka - Retail Merchandising

Joining the Real World

Hello again,

The weather in Minneapolis has been unkind lately. However, it did not stop students to come to Rapson on the first day of class (yesterday!) It was nice to see Rapson hall filled with wonderful and familiar faces again.

Recently, I got a job offer as a Social Design Intern. I will be working with a design firm, an educational institution, and a homeless emergency housing to develop new strategy program for homeless teens. It is design meets education meets homelessness. The best job I could ever ask for. You may wonder how architecture is related to my job as a Social Design Intern. First, I have to destroy any misunderstanding that architecture degree means building buildings only. There are a lot more to architecture and design than just pretty buildings. Second, I am using what we all designers are familiar thinking process, and incorporate with other needed areas in our community such as education and homelessness.

Before I go, I will leave you with an inspiring video from a well-known designer, Emily Pilloton, about the importance of design education and the changing world. Enjoy!

See you next blog!
Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.

Last First Day

This Tuesday was my final and last first day of school, ever. I will be graduating in May of this semester, so this is my last semester of college, and formal education, ever! It is a very odd feeling, bittersweet really. Having gone from high school, directly to college means I have been in some sort of school or education since the age of 5, or for a total of 17 years. Which is 77% of my entire life! Sorry for the little math tangent, but it is a lot! The moral of this is, to truly enjoy your time in college while you can. Engage in your classes, not just your major ones, as many of the closest friends I have now, I met in random general education classes like Plant Biology or Geology. These classes allow you to meet people outside of your comfort zone and major classmates, which broadens your horizons and networks. This is why the University of Minnesota is fantastic, being a huge university, it offers many many different classes and activities that allow you to meet new and different people that you would otherwise have never known.

This semester I am taking fewer classes than usual, as I am working with MNFashion, the local fashion industry's organization for events and fashion week. I am their casting director/model coordinator. It is a great way to network with local industry professionals, and shows how far you can go through connections and friendships you make along the way.

Here is a photo and link to our senior show website!


Lucie, Apparel design

Preparing for a New Semester

When I start a new semester of classes, I always like to go into it as organized and prepared as I can possibly be because I know it is going to get really hectic really quick. Here are some of the things I do to start my graphic design semester off on the right foot:

1) Clean off my computer:
By the end of a semester, I usually have a super cluttered desktop, as well as download and document folders. Cleaning up and organizing the files on your computer after one semester will keep it from continually becoming more cluttered and will also free up space and help it run faster. P.S. I still need to finish doing this - this blog post is holding me to it.

2) Get a new moleskin notebook:moleskin.jpg
I love using these little guys for jotting notes, keeping track of my daily assignments, or doodling ideas for a project I am currently working on. I used to be one of those people who never wrote down their assignments, yet I didn't forget about them either. However, I've found that having tasks and projects written in a nice little list helps me to better visualize what I need to get done and keeps my overall stress level slightly lower.

3) Clean up email inbox:
A clean inbox is a happy inbox. While I keep a tight rein on inbox, I also like to go through every few months and unsubscribe from anything that doesn't pertain to me. If you get a lot of junk mail, look for the unsubscribe links at the bottom of them.

4) Back up computer:
You should do this way more than once a semester, but now would be a good time to do so if you haven't in awhile. If you aren't backing up your computer, you should seriously invest in a decent external drive and back it up ASAP. I have seen several friends lose a lot of important work when their computer's hard drive crashed. As a design student, losing your work is losing your portfolio and without your portfolio, 4 years of schooling doesn't mean much. Don't wait until something bad happens!

I hope your first week of classes goes great!

Sean Mateer
Graphic Design

My Last First Day & the Gopher Way

Thumbnail image for Atmoshpere.MN.0113The Spring 2013 academic term has arrived and the Twin Cities Campus is once again bustling with activity as I join the masses for my final semester as an undergraduate. Despite the mildly uncomfortable and persistent sub-zero [ºF] temps, campus life has returned from winter break as tens of thousands of U of M students and faculty made their way back to campus. The start of my semester coursework began this morning with my only Tuesday class, Architectural History Since 1750 at the Bell Museum Auditorium on the East Bank of the Minneapolis Campus. Tomorrow's agenda isn't so leisurely - starting in the early morning with Design in the Digital Age on East Bank and Rural Housing Issues on the St.   Paul Campus, and ending with Intro to Public Speaking on the West Bank that night. I'm sure it will be quite the adventure.

skywaystunneszMany of us students, especially in the College of Design, tend to cover a lot of ground in one day getting from place to place on our vast campus , and beating the cold is a foundational part of foot traffic for those who get to know the Gopher Way. The Gopher Way is an extensive network of tunnels and skyways that link campus buildings and parking structures. While some of the tunnels/skyways are simple yet efficient human transport corridors, other more heavily trafficked parts of the Gopher Way are somewhat airport-like in layout - wide pedestrian concourses lined with coffee cafes, effectively linking entire areas of campus. 

Getting to know the layout and design of the whole thing can be tricky at first, but well worth the effort on absurdly chilly days like today - and taking to the tunnels is very much in the Golden Gopher spirit!

- Jesse LaMaack

Housing Studies, B.S.


First Day, Hooray!

photo.JPGHey guys! So today is the first day of the spring semester. I'm doing this blog post a little different by giving you little updates as my day goes along. Here we go!

7:20AM - Man oh man, can you say early morning? I'm sure I'll get used to it, but it sure has been awhile. I'm just waiting for my english muffin to pop out of the toaster, then me, my roommate Lauren, and our friend Marie are heading to the campus connector bus stop to go to our first classes of the day on the West Bank.

10:06AM - Stopped by Coffman to mail a few things I sold on Amazon. One of the things was an old textbook I found in my room from freshman year. Selling stuff via Amazon, the UMN textbook exchange facebook page, or the Bookstore on campus are easy ways to earn a couple of extra bucks as a college student and I highly recommend it! I also ran into my friend and co-worker, Drew, so now we're sitting and prepping for our next classes.

11:28AM - On my way to meet my friend Tina in the St. Paul Student Center. She's a good friend who I used to work with back in the day and she's applying to a graduate program here at the U. I'm so excited to hear about what she's been up to and how the process is going! Afterwards I've got Interior Design Studio.

1:17PM - Just got out of studio, and early too! Gotta love the first couple days of class, right? It was really nice getting to see everyone from last semester and I am really excited to get working again! Today we got our first project of the semester. We'll be redesigning a study space located on campus. It's especially cool because on Thursday we'll be touring the space and interviewing the client and once we're done with our solutions, we get to present them not only to our class and professor, but the real life client. From there if they like someone's project, it might just happen for real.

2:48PM - Whew! Home at last, for now that is. It's been a really good day and I have zero complaints. In a little bit I'm gunna meet up with my friend Hilary so we can grab a slice at Mesa. After that I'll head home, relax, and prep for tomorrow.

So in sum, that's a breakdown of how my day went! I hope you guys enjoyed and I'll talk to you next week! :)

Oh yeah, and before I forget - the Dean's Reception is coming up! It's an event for newly admitted College of Design students to come and see the campus, meet current students (including many of the CDes bloggers), have some lunch, and learn more about what the College of Design and U of M have to offer. I'll be there and it'd be awesome to meet some of my readers in person, so I hope to see you there!

Until the next one,
Ashley O.
Interior Design

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Goldstein Gallery

Hello all! Today I wanted to introduce you to a wonderful resource we have available to us at the University and within the College of Design. I am talking about the Goldstein Gallery of Design. This gallery is housed within McNeal hall on the St Paul campus, which is where almost all of my design and retail classes are as well. In many classes you use the gallery for research, but it is always a great resource regardless of the class. The gallery has many artifacts, but most are apparel, design or textile based.The collection has different displays throughout the year, but you can always make an appointment with the curators to see anything specific. I have done this for research in my History of Costume class. Seeing garments up close and being able to examine them (with gloves of course!) really helps you visualize and understand the time period better.

The most current exhibition, which is set to open this weekend and will be on display through out next semester is "Redesigning Re-imagining Fashion" and it focuses on eco friendly fashion, up-cycled and recycled fashion, and fashion created out of untraditional materials. I am very excited to say that two of my pieces are on display! One is my piece that I created my freshman year, which is a transforming dress to accomadate multiple uses within one garment. This piece addresses eco fashion from a use perspective. So much of what we own in clothing is made to be worn once or twice and then forgotten about. My dress has transformative properties, so as to allow the wearer to use one garment in many settings.

The other garment, which I am especially excited about because it wasn't done for a class project but an industry fashion show, is my Vitamin Water Dress. This dress is made completely out of vitamin water labels and other recycled materials (fruit bag netting, broken CDs, etc.) I created this dress for an event, Vitamin Water Uncapped, that Vitamin Water put on in the Twin Cities during the summer of 2011.

Here is a sneak peek!


Lucie, Apparel Design

Exploring Career Resources at the U

With less than a week of break left before spring courses begin, I've been trying to use at least some of my free time productively. My first move was scheduling an advising appointment with Wanda, my wonderful academic adviser. Throughout the past few years in the College of Design, advising appointments with Wanda have always been enlightening. Not only am I advised on the various ways of approaching my degree program, but also introduced to the impressive variety of campus resources available to me. As graduation draws near, here are a few adviser-certified career resources I've been either exploring or revisiting lately:

CreerIntServ.JPGCareer and Internship Services is the primary career preparation and exploration resource for housing studies students, and provides detailed information on career possibilities/trajectories based on data provided by housing studies alumni. Some of the information includes alumni job titles & career profiles, salary & employment statistics of housing graduates, words of advice from alumni, past internship sites, and more. Aside from all of the online information Career and Internship Services provides us, they also have knowledgeable career counselors available by appointment at their conveniently located offices in McNeal Hall.hsgresc.JPG

GoldPASS is another useful job searching tool available to all U of M students and recent grads. Simply put, "GoldPASS is the U of M's online database to help connect students and alumni with employers, volunteer organizations, and internships across the country." While I've used GoldPASS in the past to search for internships and part-time student positions, I'm now taking a closer look at potential entry-level professional openings to begin my career with. Fingers crossed! GoldPasz.JPG

Jesse LaMaack | Housing Studies, B.S.

Wait, what?

Yeah, so that pretty much sums up my reaction to the realization that school resumes in less than a week. It is absolutely crazy how fast break flew by! But then again, doesn't it always? After almost an entire month off from school, I suppose it probably is about time to get back in there for the spring semester.

In order to prepare for the upcoming semester, I've been keeping busy these past few days. One of the major things that I have been working the hardest at is getting organized. Anytime I'm starting something new, and especially something like a semester, I feel like one of the most important things I can do is organize the heck out of my life. Of course, there's the usual stuff like getting your folders, supplies, and textbooks, etc., but other priorities for me include deep-cleaning my room, sorting through my closet for items I want to donate or sell (at places like Buffalo Exchange, Everyday People, etc.), cleaning through and updating my laptop. Maybe some of my to-dos seem irrelevant to the beginning of a new semester, but I honestly feel like a better person after doing those things and it helps bring good vibes to the new semester so I say it's 100% to do with it.

g1GEB.jpgI'm mostly done with everything I want to take care of before the semester begins, but I do have a few of the things on my immediate to-do list. For instance, I need to look into partioning my Macbook Pro so it can run Windows 7 (so I can ultimately use software like Revit and Autocad on my mac). I also need to do a huge grocery store haul so I can have breakfast every morning, pack a lunch and maybe a snack, and cook tasty (and healthy) dinners.

I'm nervous, excited, anxious, and just about ready for the new semester to begin. I can't wait to have a solid routine again and I might regret saying this later... but I think I miss having homework, guys. Wish me luck for the new semester and I'm wishing it back your way!

Until the next one,
Ashley O.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Getting Social: tweets, feeds, etc.

Hello again,

Is your relationship with College of Design FBO*?

In case you are not aware, College of Design is everywhere on the internet. MySpace may not be one of them, but you can be sure to find CDes on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and of course, CDes website. I also hope you no longer own a MySpace account.

Social Network is a great way to connect with College of Design family. I am following the College of Design on all sites, facebook, linkedin, youtube, and twitter. After a long day with your relative's baby pictures or instagram photos online, let me tell you how nice it is to see updates about your peers, your professors, or design news. It is refreshing! There are also updates about lab hours, and changes students need to know. It is a great way to be informed in addition to emails. LinkedIn is another social network that is specialize in professional networking. As you will hear many more times, networking is really important. So, start now! Besides the student blogs you are reading, there is also D@MN blog for stories of students, alumni, and faculty.

CDes facebook page

To get on the list, follow the links below:
D@MN Blog:

See you next blog!
Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.
*FBO = Facebook Official

Ethical Responsibility

As business majors we are put in place of responsibility to perform ethically within our future careers in retail. The retail industry is very fun and exciting, a career where it's employers are continuously interacting with new products and people. Working in an industry where the demands are constant and the competition is high, it is extremely easy to fall into unethical behaviors in order to meet people's wants and needs.

Sometimes the line between ethical and unethical is very clear and other times, it is blurred. Luckily, in our major, we are required to take a full class concerning ethics within the retail industry; it is called Fashion, Ethics, and Consumption (RM 1201). This class brings up the common ethical concerns like ethical hiring practices and treatment of employees. However, hardier topics are addressed as well; topics like sweatshops, unethical marketing, and the sale counterfeit products. These topics may seem to be black and white, however, you would be surprised at how often they do occur within the retail industry. For this reason, it is very important that we, as future retail professionals, be well informed and aware so that we can take initiative in being ethically responsible when we are in our future retail careers.

(Unfortunately, many retailers use sweatshops; it is somewhat inevitable, mostly because the demand for low-costing products is growing larger, and in order to keep these costs down, retailers have outsource to countries where labor is cheaper. This is an example of how we as consumers, not only retail professionals, have to be ethically aware. Photo Credit:

Until Next Week,
Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Winter Break Adventure!

I spent the last week at Big Sky Ski Resort in Montana with the UMN Ski and Snowboard club. If you are into skiing or snowboarding, I would highly suggest checking out one of the clubs trips. You will have an awesome time and make a ton of new friends, not to mention that the cost of the trips are a steal! The next trip will be over spring break to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I went on this trip last year and had a blast. I'm hoping to save up some money and go again this spring break.

The week went by way too fast. Snow conditions were great and the 5 bedroom cabins we stayed in were amazing. We could ride down from our cabin to a lift that would take us up the mountain and ride right back to our front door for lunch or at the end of the day. Below is a picture of most of the people I stayed with.


Coming back from Montana was a little rough, as my week of relaxation and fun ended abruptly with the start of work and other responsibilities during this last week before school starts back up. Aside from working as the student graphic designer at CDes Student Services and doing recruiting for upcoming evaluations at the usability lab, I am making it my goal to finish my portfolio website before the end of the week. If you didn't see my two posts about creating an awesome online portfolio from the last two weeks, see them here.

Have a productive and fun last week of Winter Break!

Sean Mateer
Graphic Design

Monday, January 14, 2013

Almost That Time!!

Hi guys,

So this week I went out into the cold and did lots of fun stuff. Sometimes I am not too sure what motivates me but I get pretty serious about getting outside. Last Wednesday, before the warm weekend that Im sure we are all missing right now, I went to the Ice Castles stationed out near the Mall of America. looking up.JPGThumbnail image for DSC03371.jpgDSC03377.jpg
It was so fun and slippery. I will warn you that although it was really fun at night, it was swarming with children running everywhere on ice. Dangerous.... I had a blast and am really glad I got to see them. There are lots of things I want to do before I leave for Rome next week!!! like sledding or playing broomball, finishing a painting i started but could not get quite right, reading what seems like an endless amount of books about Rome and Istanbul, seeing all my friends. The list goes on forever. When I feel overwhelmed about starting something new I always make a list! Its so cleansing because all the stuff I have been thinking about is put out in front of me and cleared from my brain. Monday for instance, get a bunch of books; travel, phrase, novels, fiction...all to help me understand the places I am going starting next week. If you missed it I am participating in the Architecture in Istanbul trip with the Cdes school of architecture.

Until next week,

Sarah S.

Landscape Planning BED: spring 2014

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The End Is Near

Hello again,

I proudly present the BDA studio in its most complete stage. With all the hard work of every party involved, our studio is now looking more beautiful than ever. It all started with the wonderful, forward-thinking BDA Director who recognized that the traditional architecture studio does not fully serve the needs of the unique BDA curriculum. Last year, a small number of BDA students, including myself, were part of creating the new learning environment that is suitable for the variety of design works produce by BDA students. We worked on paper, created model, built full-scale cardboard prototype to test the design, and the final design is built with plywood. Check out my older blog for information about this transformation.

We recently had the BDA Open House to celebrate this exciting completion with all the supporters who are behind the success of the BDA Studio Re-built. There were many talented professionals attended. It was great to have conversations with professionals in architecture and design about what we have done, and how we arrived to the final design of our studio. I found out that many of them are working with projects that are similar to the Re-built BDA project. They called it an Innovative Learning space projects. Sounds pretty fancy, right?

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Images from the Open House event by College of Design. For more images, visit College of Design Facebook page.

Panorama of the current studio.

I hope you will have a chance to visit us and be part of the College of Design family!

See you next blog!
Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Preparations for the Real World

As the start of the spring semester approaches, the fact that I am graduating this year is becoming more of a reality. In addition to graduating this year, I will also need to start looking for a "big kid" job. Job searching can seem intimidating, especially if you are unprepared and unaware of what employers are looking for in job applications and interviews. Luckily, however, a class called RM 3201: Career and Internship is required so that Retail students can be well prepared as we step into the real world.

This single credit course goes into much depth about how to properly construct cover letters, resumes, and portfolios. However, we are not only taught how to create documents that professionals will respect, but we also learn how to conduct ourselves in job interviews and land the jobs we are looking for. All of our documents and interviews are critiqued and reviewed by the professor, who also provides very useful and personalized feedback on how to improve. In addition to building upon our job application and interviewing skills, we also set career objectives, take tests to determine our personal strengths via Strength Finder, and learn how to properly negotiate job contracts once we do land a job.

(Photo Credit:

This class is very useful and helpful, however, you can never be too prepared when it comes to finding a career; this is why we, the students, are offered the help of the Career and Internship Service center up to two years after graduation!

Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

FLUX look book shoot

Hello readers!

This past weekend I returned to the twin cities for our fashion show's look book shoot. For those of you unfamiliar with the term "look book", a look book is kind of like a program to a fashion show. It shows images of the looks and outfits featured in the show, and offers a glimpse into the designers' behind the collections by having bios and inspiration. It also has contact information for all designers and other talentin the show, as well as a "thank you" page which credits all those involved and who contributed. Our look book will feature one two-page spread about each designer, featuring a one page photo of one of their designs (which we shot on Saturday) as well as a once page write up about the designer themselves and the collection, as well as our bio photos.

On Saturday we shot our look book images, which meant we got to see at least one final garment on a model with professional styling, which was fantastic. My gorgeous model, Lauren, drove 4 hours to shoot with me which just goes to show that networking and making great connections with industry professionals like models can go a long way! I am the only designer showing "plus size" garments, so that was fun to see my model (a size 14/16) look fantastic alongside all the size 0/2 models. (Plus size in the fashion industry is anything above a size 6, it is a very odd industry and I am trying to change some of the outlook on it with my collection, designed using models ranging from size 6/8-14/16)

Below is a sneak peak from the shoot, straight off the photographers screen!


Lucie, Apparel Design

Rest & Rejuvenation

Mpls.MississAhhh, winter break feels great. I've been getting out of the house and office as much as possible to enjoy the city and the company of my friends. In many ways, this is my favorite time of year. While summer breaks for many students take a lot of planning, moving, and other somewhat intense lifestyle changes - winter break is pretty much the opposite. After the immediate cultural holiday celebrations, new year begins and working folks get back on with their regular lives. For U of M students, however, the end of the holidays still leaves us with three weeks of relative freedom before starting back up with a fresh new academic term of new courses and new daily pattern of life.


As exciting as that sounds, I'm very much enjoying the added rest and freetime winter break has brought me. Outside of work, I now have more time to not only relax and socialize, but also get back in the loop with my personal interests. As I hadn't had much time during the school year to keep up with my favorite group of musical artists, the Pretty Lights Music record label - I've been busy enjoying their artist's most recent albums and singles, which they graciously provide us fans free of charge on their website. Listening to their new beats for the first time always puts me in an upbeat mood and will eventually become the background music of spring semester study sessions. Gramatik and Michal Menert (album artwork below) are my favorite artists in the label to listen to while studying, and their newest albums did not fail to disappoint.


With these bits of my life being the most exciting events of my winter break so far here in Minneapolis, I'm quite content with a few more weeks of similar activity.

- Jesse L.

Housing Studies, B.S.

Saying Goodbye To Family Again

This week has been full of change. I went from having 2 extra sisters, multiple out of town friends and relatives in town to having to say goodbye to TWO sisters, their boyfriends and a lot of friends going back to lives and school elsewhere. After weeks of excitement and holidays and celebrations you must return to the same old same. School, work, obligations and possible new resolutions you might have made with yourself. Although I did not make any specific resolutions I always try to make an effort to try new things and keep active. I took this picture of the cracked ice over the Mississippi when I went out for a long walk with my sister before she left Monday. We walked "the loop" which is what my family has always called the trail between Lake street and franklin avenue bridges. The river looked immense and scary, as the ice this time of year is typically thick and snow covered. Seeing it cracked and thin made me a little weary. DSC03366.JPG
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So... this is how I say goodbye to my loved ones. My sister and her boyfriend spent 3 weeks here in Minnesota, they are returning to Salt Lake City to rock climb and travel around to do lots of outdoor activities. My sister has always inspired me this way. Like going to travel abroad. She was super supportive and excited for me to travel and leave MN. Before I started school at the U I traveled outside the country almost once a year. I love exploring new places and meeting new people from all over the globe. Lately I have been so engulfed by school and work I lost my drive to go somewhere.

This semester I will be staying in Rome for a month and Istanbul for 2.5 months with a small group of Architecture and Landscape Design students all from the U. I am excited beyond belief right now, looking at pictures and getting ready to experience all these ancient places I have been studying all these years. I can't thank those who inspired me and motivated me enough. I will be writing all about my experiences and hopefully inspiring some of you to do any great opportunities the University of MN gives its students. I hope you all have had a great winter vacation and saw and did lots of amazing things.

Until next week,
Sarah S.

How to Prepare for an Informational

Informational-Interview.jpegAlright guys, I'm going to break this down for you, but don't be scared because I promise, it is SUPER easy. And before I jump into that, I'll give you an itsy bitsy back story as to what's got my mind on Informational Interviews...

I've been thinking about informationals for just about all of winter break. Now that the holidays are officially over, people are back in their offices and I am ready to get some face (or phone) time with professionals out there in the industry. Specifically, I have an informational coming up with a professional working at a local architecture firm that also has a hand in interior design. I should also mention that I got connected with her through a different informational I did back in October. There's a theme with informational interviews -- they get you connected. The things you learn supplement the things you learn in a classroom and then go beyond.

So about those steps...

1) ASK!
When it comes to informational interviews, the first thing you need to know is that they won't find you, you need to find them (in the begining at least). You need to be active and avid. There are plenty of professionals out there in any industry willing to meet for informational interviews, but your job is to stand out because there are also plenty of students and recent grads asking for them. Usually, ways of asking can include following up via email if you meet a professional at an event (where you cleverly asked for a business card), asking your career center or professors, or checking out LinkedIn. If you have firms that stand out to you, feel free to email someone working there and ask who you should get in touch with. Ultimately, asking won't hurt, the worst thing that will happen is a person won't respond. You know what you do from there? You move on and ask someone else. Maybe in a few weeks or month you can try again with that other person.

Once you land your interview (and you will), do some reasearch! Check out the firm's website, look them up on LinkedIn, see if anything noteable pops up when you Google them. Make sure that when you go in, you know some things about the person or the firm that the person works for. You don't need to have all the answerers (that's why this is an interview), but it's nice to have some info you can springboard from. The rest will come when you start asking your questions.

Think about what you want to ask and talk about. Is there specific information you would like to know about that person, a project they worked on, or the industry in general? Is there any advice you're dying to get? Jot it all down, or better yet, type it all up and print a neat "cheat sheet" of questions and topics. This is good because even when your interviewer sees this, it just shows them that you are well prepared, organized, and that you respect their time. Another few things to think about in the preparation stage include your outfit and transportation. Usually you'll go buisness casual for something like this and you can check out Metro Transit if your interview is in the city and you need to take the bus.

Yup guys, I mean it. The last step is to be awesome. Go into that interview, chit chat, ask your questions, and show them you're a great person. Now I mean this subtly because the purpose of this interview is not to sell yourself, but rather to learn about them. But you are spending time with them and they are spending time with you so make a good impression because these days who you know can bring you a long way.

So I know that was a lot, but if you have questions, leave comments! I promise I'm here to help. And if this was helpful, bookmark this post.

Until the next,
Interior Design

Friday, January 4, 2013

So You Want to Create an Online Portfolio: Part 2

In my last blog I talked about a few different options for creating an online portfolio. Anytime during your 4 years studying graphic design is a great time to start an online portfolio. The sooner you make one, the better it will be by the time you graduate (as long as you iterate and keep it up to date, of course). In part 2, I am going to talk more specifically about what to include in your portfolio and how to make it the best you can.

Step 1: Design and Organize!

Your portfolio should appear well put together and designed. Spend time creating a brand either for yourself or the website that will create an original and unifying package that represents you and your work. However, be sure that the design of your site doesn't eclipse your work. Your work should be what stands out the most and perhaps what visitors see first. Consider having some kind of most recent work section on your homepage to show what you have been up to.

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Stephen Di Donato does a great job of letting samples of his work shine on his Cargo website. You can view his portfolio here.

Step 2: Include Your Best Work, Not All Work

An online portfolio, or any portfolio for that matter should not be a place to showcase all of the work you have done. Your portfolio should only be a succinct overview showing the best work you have done. This might mean you only display one or maybe two projects from any given class in your portfolio. Also remember to keep your best work relevant. You shouldn't be showing your best work from Freshman year in a portfolio your Junior year because you have probably progressed greatly as a designer since then.

Step 3: Include a Description

Especially as a student with less work to show in your portfolio, it is important to include a some context to accompany your work. Talk about who the project was for, what problems you solved, and how you did it. Make sure to always speak confidently about your work.

That's it for now. Hopefully you have a good idea of how to build a successful online portfolio of work after reading this two part blog.

I hope the remainder of your winter break is great!

Sean Mateer
Graphic Design

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Winter Break Travels

So it's winter break and for the most park, my agenda is relaxing and working. The one other thing I've been planning for a little while is a trip to Chicago which I recently came photo.jpegback from. It was a great time and a really fun adventure! We left on December 29th and stayed until January 1st. It was pretty awesome getting to do something new for New Year's this year. While we were there we tried some pretty interesting foods at various restaurants, toured the loop area downtown, and visited my aunt who lives just outside of the city.

Now that I'm back from my little vacation, there's a few more things on my agenda before school resumes in a few weeks. Some of the things I hope to accomplish include refining and updating my LinkedIn account, searching for summer internships, tweaking my resume, working at my part time job, and reading leisurely. I also want to keep working on my sketching and rendering from my interior design studio. I think over long breaks from school it's important to have balance between fun and productivity (and when possible, it's nice to combine the two). For instance, right now I'm hanging out at a new coffe shop called Publika in Dinkytown as I write this.

I'll keep you posted on what life looks like next week, but until then stay well!

Interior Design

New Year, New Routine, and Gopher Hockey

9324_1110526484996_5107553_n.jpegReady or not, 2013 has finally arrived. While starting a new year is always an exciting and often refreshing experience as a college student, 2013 will definitely be unlike any other. For roughly 5,000 U of M students including myself, this is the year - we are the Class of 2013. The "M" formation on the right is our freshman class during Welcome Week 2009! Seems like just yesterday we were all meeting each other for the very first time. For those of us graduating in exactly four years, there's only one semester left before commencement ceremonies begin in late May. Regardless of the many possible paths I may choose to take following my final semester here in the College of Design, 2013 is sure to be a year of final chapters and new beginnings. It sure will be a rollercoaster ride of a year, but I'm excited nonetheless.

While new years has figuratively served as the beginning of the end of college, so to speak, my favorite part about this time of year is the relaxation that is had during winter break. Sure, I take in about twice as many hours at my campus job, but thats pretty much the biggest stressor in my life right now which is fine with me. School is great, don't get me wrong, but winter break feels like bliss after several solid weeks of final exams and term projects.

293524_10151330347277943_515365805_n.jpgAnd on a final note, have you all heard about Gopher Hockey in the news recently? Just a few days ago the Gopher Hockey men's team hosted the Mariucci Classic and defeated Boston College (BC), the nation's top-ranked college hockey team. The best part about the game wasn't just the victory itself, but also the fact that we dominated the rink with the final score being 8-1, Gopher victory - bumping us up from fourth to number one in the nation. So at the present moment in time, BOTH the men's AND women's Gopher Hockey teams are ranked first in the nation. I am so glad that my dad got me season student tickets this year! Go Gophers!

Best wishes for the new year everyone!

- Jesse L
Housing Studies, B.S.

Pic (hockey):

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Step Into the Picture

Hello again,

It's officially 2013! Happy New Year to you all. A couple months ago, I had a chance to be part of Step Into the Picture promotional photo-shoot with the Office for Student Engagement Program. University of Minnesota highly encourages its students to be involved outside classroom. There are plenty of opportunities for you such as internships, student organizations, study abroad, employments, volunteer, leadership positions, etc. The list is endless. With over 700 student groups on campus, there are everything to match any types of interests you may have. I have been involved with several students organizations in the past, including American Institute of Architecture Students, Freedom By Design, and Thai Student Association of Minnesota. I was also employed by Housing and Residential Life as a Community Advisor. As you can see, my involvement did not limit to only architectural-related topics.

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A poster from the photoshoot. I took this from a posting board as a keepsake. They are now being posted around campus. Look for me!

Being involved has taught me many things: time management, social skills, professional skills and most importantly friendship. The reason we encourage you to be involved is everyone who walks into classroom will walk out with the same information. Involvement will be the one thing that sets you apart from the crowd. The university is a big place, but you can make it smaller by finding the place where you belong. I definitely feel the sense of belonging because I was involved and I would advise you to do the same. There are many pictures waiting for you to step into. I did!

See you next blog!
Beau Sinchai
Architecture B.D.A.

Winter Break

Hello all! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year! I certainly did. Winter break in college is a great time, because you get to have a nice long break in between semesters. It's nice to have time off in between semesters, as opposed to in the middle of them (like some schools that operate on a quarter system) is that you get time off to take a break, without worrying about classes and homework. Who can say no to that?

My winter break, however, is a bit different than in previous years. Our senior show is on February 16th, and we have a lot of planning to work on before the next semester starts! I have been working on a press release to send to various media outlets to publicize the show, and invite press to attend. It is a fun job, but also stressful, because I am responsible for making industry professionals interested in our work!

In addition to working on show responsibilities, I am putting the finishing touches on my garments. I am beading and embellishing a few of the pieces, as well as adding jewelry (which I am also making) and figuring out styling (shoes, hair, makeup, etc.) Our photoshoot for our look book is on the 5th, so wish me luck! Below is a picture of my beading.


Lucie, Apparel Design

Prepared and Preparing for Traveling Abroad

I must say this winter break has been wonderful. Lots of snow and cold for Minnesota, but I admit the beauty of a fresh snow fall is priceless. I love walking around the city with WARM clothes just looking at the branches bare with a snowy cover. Ah the nostalgia will be lost on me after the snow turns brown and freezes into ice, but for now let's appreciate the good things winter brings.
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I hope your new years celebrations were awesome. here are some pretty cool mages from cities around the world and how they looked when the ball dropped. Gorgeous, I love fireworks!Slide1.jpg

Lately I have been working on my Letter of Intent and Portfolio for the Accelerated Masters in Landscape Architecture program. I am busy with working at The Lowry and preparing for my study abroad trip to Roma and Istanbul. Not only does it feel like a million things to do, if something were to say, go wrong!, its crazy. Obviously something went wrong. I lost my passport. I had to get a new one ASAP...all the places that used to give out expedited passports no longer due and now the downtown offices at 212 3rd ave. are really the only place you can get one! just fyi...when in a pinch go there!!! My trip is starting in 22 days. I am really excited. Starting in Rome and going to Istanbul is going to be a great experience. Here is a really fun list of 100 things to know before you go to Italy.
I will be writing to you all during my travels so stay plugged in with me! Lots of pictures to come. Thanks

Until next week,

Sarah S.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Glimpse at a Possible First Semester

I remember entering my first year of college; it was very intimidating. I had to get used to a new city, new school, new friends, and a new and different class structure. The class structure was most intimidating for me however, because I had no idea what to expect; I didn't know what I would be learning and how I would be learning it. I soon discovered was that all classes are structured differently and it all depends on the subject matter and the instructor. But knowing that the unknown is intimidating, I figured that I would give you a small glimpse at what your first semester of classes might look like. Having taken these classes, I can share a bit of information on what they were like, but I can't guarantee that they will be the same. Some classes change year to year, and you may different professors than I or choose a different set of classes. But either way, here is a look at a potential possibility.

Comm 1101: Intro to public speaking
This was a very small class, very laid-back, with only about fifteen to twenty people. We did about four or five speeches, one of which was formal. I had the class twice a week and it was about ninety minutes long.

DES1111: Creative Problem Solving
This was a larger lecture class with a hundred people, however the discussion portion had only about fifteen. This class had very entertaining homework; every week we had to step out of our comfort zones and approach "typical" tasks in different ways; we then document, write about them, and present them in our discussions. The objective of the class is to get students thinking outside the box.
(This was an assignment in which we had to "wear something different" to Creative Problem Solving discussion; I choose to wear my hair EXTREMELY messy, very out of my comfort zone.)

Econ 1101: Microeconomics
Most students take this class in the lecture format with about 400+ other students. When I took the class there were two exams and one cumulative final. I had this class three times a week for only fifty minutes, which I liked because it gave me time to process the content and understand it before moving on to new material.

Math 1021: College Algebra
When I took this class I felt as if it was done in a very similar format to my high school math classes; I had homework each week, three exams, and a final. I had this class twice a week for about two hours. College Algebra is the lowest math requirement needed to graduate with a Retail Merchandising Degree; so taking a higher math class also fills the requirement.

RM 1201: Fashion, Ethics, and Consumptions
This was an eighty-person class when I took it; it was held three times a week in fifty-minute increments. We had weekly quizzes concerning the content, which covered material like body image in fashion, ethical issues like sweatshops and counterfeit products, and many other hardy topics within the fashion world. I believe that I had two exams in the class, one final, and one paper as well.

Hope this was helpful!
Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

So You Want to Create an Online Portfolio: Part 1

In my last blog, I talked a little bit about different options for building a portfolio website. This time, I will go deeper into detail about different online portfolio options and some tips for creating the best portfolio you can.

While there are many options for making an online portfolio, the majority of designers will build an online portfolio site using Behance, Cargo, or by making there own site from scratch. Below, I will talk about some of the pros and cons of each of these choices.

Pros: Professional looking and organized layout- lets your work speak for itself. Easily searchable by prospective clients.

Cons: Not much ability to customize look of page. Competition of others, easy to access others portfolios from your page.

Behance organizes your work in a very professional manner, but it is easy to be distracted by navigation options or to view other's work.

Pros: Much more customizable compared to Behance. No navigation to lead to other's work.
Cons: More difficult for clients to search for work.

Cargo allows you to choose from several different layout themes. It is also possible to manually alter the design of the themes, allowing users to create a more personal look.

Designing your own site
Pros: Highest level of customization- Make a unique site that distinguishes yourself and showcases your skills.
Cons: Much more time consuming to create. More difficult to maintain and update.

It's important to choose the option that makes the most sense for you. If you plan on concentrating on being a print designer, it probably isn't very important to create your own website from scratch. Likewise, if you plan on being an web or interactive designer, having your own domain and custom site is more important to have by the time to graduate. However, having a Behance or Cargo portfolio in the meantime is totally great.

Next week, I will be talking more about what to include in your portfolio and tips for making it the best you can.

Graphic Design.