Carrie Gates | June 29, 2018
When Kacey Hengesbach began her undergraduate career at Notre Dame, she didn’t imagine that it would include traveling 8,000 miles to Ahmedabad, India.
But thanks to a new course created by Neeta Verma, the Robert P. Sedlack Jr. Associate Professor in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design, she had the chance to spend three weeks there last summer, working collaboratively with students from India’s National Institute of Design.
“I feel like I learned more in those three weeks than I have in most of my life, because it was so vastly different than anything I’ve done before,” said Hengesbach, a senior design and marketing major. “Until I did this class, I would often design solely for the atmosphere that I was in. But this experience has definitely opened my eyes to the bigger, global picture. That’s a way of thinking that I will definitely take into my line of work.”
Hengesbach and the other students in Verma’s Social Design course continued their partnership with the NID students throughout the fall semester, hosting them for a two-week visit to Notre Dame in September and communicating via Skype and email for the remainder of the course.
The idea behind the course, which Verma is planning to offer again, is to tackle a singular, global problem — like sustainability — and examine it from both a U.S. and Indian perspective.
“To look at a problem cross-culturally is a much bigger challenge,” Verma said. “That started me thinking, how do I make these students really step out of their comfort zones and give them an opportunity to address issues that are far more challenging?”
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