Wege Prize High School Collaborative Studio Applications Open for Free Summer 2024 Workshop Focusing on Sustainability, Building a Better Future

Posted January 8, 2024 in Wege Prize, Collaborative Design

High school students with a passion for creative problem-solving are invited to apply for the 2024 Wege Prize High School Collaborative Studio, a free summer workshop hosted by Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University. 

Open to high schoolers entering their junior or senior year, the two-week program immerses participants in the solving of complex problems through the lens of whole systems design thinking, sustainability, and the circular economy.  

“It’s a great way for aspiring change-makers to activate their summer,” said Gayle DeBruyn, KCAD professor of Design Studies and Wege Prize lead. “Our goal is to equip young leaders with the tools to become active contributors to building a better future for people and the planet.”  

A group of high school students sitting around a table, working on laptops.Wege Prize High School Collaborative Studio participants working together on the KCAD campus.

The Collaborative Studio empowers students to develop innovative solutions to real-world environmental and social issues in their community. The workshop is modeled after KCAD's international collegiate student design competition, Wege Prize 

In addition to hands-on design experience, benefits for participating students include a $595 stipend, portfolio-quality design work, letters of recommendation, and opportunities for professional mentoring and community network building. The program runs 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from July 22 to Aug. 2, 2024. The application deadline is June 23.

During the program, students work in collaborative groups led by qualified instructors to research and conceptualize solutions to regional challenges through the design process and present their work to community leaders.  

A group of high school students gathered around recycling containers at PADNOS Sustainability City.The 2022 Wege Prize High School Collaborative Studio cohort learning about the recycling process at the PADNOS Innovation Lab.

Jordan Fridsma, a former Collaborative Studio participant and graduate of Grand Rapids Public Museum High School, said the program was a formative experience that shaped her vocation, provided meaningful connections, and led to lasting friendships.  

"I left eager to continue learning and educating others about the circular economy and collaborative design," Fridsma said. "It exposed me to the real-world complexities of sustainability and stewardship and made me so much more engaged with conversations around sustainability in my classes."  

Currently studying Geography, Urban Studies, and Studio Art at Calvin University, Fridsma said much of what she is learning now connects back to the concepts she learned through the program. 

Previous Wege Prize High School cohorts spent time learning and researching at the PADNOS Sustainability City, the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds, Kids Food Basket, and Friends of Grand Rapids Parks to identify and address issues like shelters for the unhoused, nutritional education for kids, and mitigating the impact of toxic algae blooms. 

A group of high school students sharing their final presentation on mitigating algal blooms for 2022's Wege Prize High School Collaborative Studio. Participants work in groups to research and conceptualize solutions to regional challenges and present their work to community leaders.  

Program Dates: 
July 22 – August 2, 2024 
Mondays – Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

Application Deadline:  
June 23, 2024 

Interested students must apply to participate. Applications for the 2024 program are open now through June 23, 2024. To learn more and apply, visit kcad.edu/wegehs. 

Wege Prize and the Wege Prize High School Collaborative Studio are organized by KCAD's Wege Center for Sustainable Design with the support of The Wege Foundation. 

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