Big Ideas Update - The Green Product Design Network

The Green Product Design Network (GPDN) continues to bring together accomplished faculty from different disciplines – green chemistry, product design, journalism and communication, and business – with an interest in inventing sustainable products that can be readily adopted and marketed to our larger society. The goal is to take ideas from invention to the marketplace quickly and with lasting impact.

 This year, a course in Green Chemistry for non-science majors attracted much interest from students who understood chemistry better when they learned how it could be applied in ways that could help the environment.

 The enthusiasm of GPDN’s expert faculty not only engaged those students, but also garnered attention with award-winning work. Associate Professor Kiersten Muenchinger was named Young Educator of the Year by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)

 Muenchinger was recognized for her teaching and her work founding the UO’s Product Design Program, which is now in its fourth year. Read more here.

 The Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry, a collaboration of Oregon State University and the University of Oregon, beat out teams from two other universities to win a $20 million National Science Foundation grant. The grant will be used largely to fund graduate student work through the center. Read full article.

 In April 2012, GPDN is hosting an event in Portland that will offer a presentation about current issues in environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) for building products and materials from Philip White, Industrial Design, Arizona State University.

 All guests at the event are also invited to submit a slide to introduce their product, company, research topic, or research needs following the lecture.

 This unique opportunity will allow companies with an interest in performing an LCA or using LCA to evaluate products or a supply chain to meet people who have complementary needs or resources to offer. Read more about the Life Cycle Assessment Presentation.                    

Graduate students engaged with GPDN have conducted research and are drafting a policy for use by the University of Oregon that will establish non-toxic cleaning standards for each campus building. A report on their innovative work will be available soon.

The GPDN also offers resources on its website, including:

Green Washing Index: An automated tool that scores your response to five statements about the relevance of marketing claims in an ad.

UO Green Chemistry Center: A referral source that provides the green chemistry curriculum, research programs, a database of educational materials, information on a workshop on incorporating green chemistry into the undergraduate curriculum and the UO textbook on Greener Organic Chemistry.

 Reports: Links to reports that include contributions from members of the GPDN network.

Internships/Career Opportunities: A list of resources for internships and career opportunities.  

Aria Seligmann - March 29, 2012