Applied Sustainability
Client Projects

SUS 706 Applied Sustainability: Creativity to Impact is crafted to experience sustainability in action through Human Centered Design. Human Centered Design is a philosophy, a set of abilities, a set of mindsets, and a set of practices that proves invaluable in addressing the sustainability issues of our time. This way of working is a making based approach to problem solving and solution development.

You will apply and practice the mindsets and abilities of design in different scenarios and different scales to address sustainability problems, and develop and build on new to the world ideas. This class is project oriented and team based. This class builds on, and synthesizes in action, the Master of Arts in Sustainability curriculum.

This course as a journey culminates with a client/community based sustainability practicum. Overall, this class emphasizes new ways of approaching work and life. The skills developed through a thoughtful engagement in this course prove valuable well into the future. Through in class activities, out of class activities, client engagement, and a keen bias to action, participants will achieve the following outcomes.

At the completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain in your own words, and apply the principles of Human Centered Design and the practice of Design Thinking as a core approach to problem solving and capitalizing on opportunities in sustainability, and careers.
  • Communicate deliberately, ideas, concepts, emotions, and insights to appropriate audiences through visual, written and verbal mediums
  • Navigate ambiguity by synthesizing ideas and findings to identify actionable insights and opportunity in sustainability as broadly defined
  • Empathize with others (people & contexts)*
  • Build and craft intentionally*
  • Find, build, and explain your own creative confidence
  • Simply retool the way you work, think, and do


Foothills Brewing

Wrangler Jeans


Piedmont Land Conservancy

Wake Forest University

Centralina Council of Governments

Yadkin Riverkeeper


Elise Barrella

Jon Clift