Fifteen students in RIT’s Industrial Design program will spend this semester designing products for Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street. It’s part of the university’s annual Metaproject, which pairs students with a different industry partner each year.
The theme of this year’s project is called “Urgency of Play,“ and the students will need to create a modern Sesame Street product or service related to that theme.
Josh Owen is professor and chair of RIT’s industrial design program, and he says the project focus grew out of the need to integrate play in our daily activities to help deal with life’s challenges.
“I think we wanted to talk about the urgency of how we insert early learning , how we focus on embedding things like kindness into young people’s experiences, early on.”
The tie-in with Sesame Street was helped by the fact that Theresa Fitzgerald, Vice President Creative Director with Sesame Workshop, is a 1984 graduate of RIT with a degree in graphic design.
Owen says having this kind of real-world experience is important for these students.
“Putting our students in the context of a real world, professional engagement creates its own sense of urgency for them and wraps their work in a tremendous amount of considerate, sort of output that’s viable and testable and usable.”
Owen says the course also gives the students the possibility of having their design put into production.
Sesame Street is part of WXXI Kids 24/7 programming.