Week 4

This week we had to cancel seminar because of the weather, but we all did the assignments on our own and answered questions after researching the given topics!

Give three examples of how you can use nature as a model / mentor / measure for your own designs (and life).

I think that one of the ways that I can use nature as a model for my designs is by using the shapes of things as inspiration. Spiders are pretty good at weaving webs that hold weight, so maybe that can help in bridge designs. Birds are pretty good at moving fast, so maybe that can help in the designs of high-speed vehicles like planes and trains. I could also use nature as a mentor in my personal life. One of the things that I tend to stress about in my life is how I perform in sports. As a Division 1 NCAA athlete, rowing takes up a lot of my time and energy. Sometimes I feel like its overwhelming. But one thing that I’ve internalized is how resilient humanity, and all of nature is. Evolution has fine-tuned species so that they are uniquely suited to their surroundings. Now all I have to do is put in the work and let my surroundings fine-tune me into an elite athlete. Basically, I think about nature as a mentor when my coach tells me to ‘trust the process.’

Pick one of Life’s Principles. Explain how you might apply it to your work and life (could be unrelated to your GSIF projects).

I think that the integration of cyclic processes can be applied to the plastics project. Not onl­­­­y are we trying to eliminate waste by actually using waste as our initial resource, but we also are just one player in a larger system who is innovating to fit new social needs. We take input from Lehigh students, UPD students, professors and mentors around the globe to come up with an idea to make a business by selling recycled products. Since there are so many people working on this project and collaborating with experts outside of the main research team, ideas flood in and evolve to become what is hopefully a successful business.

How do you envision integrating the Cradle to Cradle Design concept into your project (and life)? Give one compelling example.

The main idea that I took out of the Cradle to Cradle Design is that everything becomes a resource for something else. I think that this is a really interesting concept to apply to this plastic recycling project. As the project stands now, we are using plastic waste as our resource. We are using energy efficient (or that is the plan) machines to process this plastic waste into a marketable product. This shows how something (plastic) is a resource for something else (our products). But what are our products a resource for? Can they be turned into something valuable for our environment? The simple answer is that we aren’t sure. We know that once different types of plastics are mixed together in the recycling process that the plastic can’t be recycled again. Maybe this will lead us to being more diligent with separation of different types of plastic and then labelling our final products with their corresponding number.

Give three examples of something very interesting you learned from a friend that was a completely alien concept to you.

  • Maine is the only one syllable state. This may seem like a trivial piece of information, and it is. However, it shows how people tend to overlook the details. Like any other students in the United States I memorized every US state, but I never took the time to see how many syllables each has. What I took away from that is the following – something commonly overlooked could have important value in a project, or just as a fun conversation starter.
  • Discipline in new areas. Before meeting Maya, one of my roommates, I understood discipline in the sense of getting schoolwork done and performing well in sports. I never really thought about discipline in other aspects of life. Now, after being exposed to it, I developed the discipline to make my deb every morning, to go to bed at a ~semi~ regular hour, and to eat clean consistently.
  • In Wyoming, the boys buy their dates’ prom dresses. That is SO DRASTICALLY different from any other prom experience I’ve ever heard of. Some people might think that its sweet but to be honest I think that it puts pressure on the girls to find a date because if they don’t, then they’re dateless (which isn’t normally what people want) and they have to pay for their own dressed. It discourages girl gangs.

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