Yestermorrow Named As Finalist in Revelation to Action Competition

Dear Friends,

We’ve just received exciting news! Yestermorrow is a finalist in the Revelation to Action competition, sponsored by Green Mountain Coffee and Ashoka's Changemakers. The contest was launched “to find and help fund the most innovative ideas to inspire community action in the Northeastern US” – and our proposal for a groundbreaking Semester in Sustainable Design/Build has been selected by a panel of judges for the final phase of public voting. Now we need your support to go all the way.

You can help make this pioneering new program a reality by voting for our proposal at Yestermorrow blog, Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn and email, and we need your help to do the same, in order to get as many votes as we can in the next three weeks.

What’s our idea?
Yestermorrow's new Semester in Sustainable Design/Build will be the first program of its kind in the country, giving undergraduate students a chance to immerse themselves in the hands-on process of collaboratively designing and building an innovative, high performance “green” building for a deserving community client. Students from a variety of disciplines and majors will work closely with Yestermorrow's renowned design/build faculty and Vermont community partners, and engage with an academically rigorous, practical and inspiring curriculum. In the process they will receive a full semester's worth of credits at their home institution. The program is currently in the planning stages, and slated for its inaugural session in fall 2011.

Who is it for?
The program will be open to undergraduates of any major, provided they have taken certain prerequisites. The “clients” will include Vermont nonprofit organizations and community members, who will become partners in the collaborative process of identifying a pressing local need and then creating an innovative built environment to address it. Yestermorrow will design and administer the program in close consultation with faculty from a credit-granting partner institution of higher education.

Why is this worth supporting?
Few undergraduate architecture programs provide students with intensive hands-on “learning through building” opportunities. And fewer still offer such an experience through the increasingly urgent lens of sustainability - in terms of energy, water, materials, interaction with site, and equitable access (among many other considerations). Students in this program will emerge empowered, with new skills and awareness about sustainable building methods. They’ll also have a wider sense of the possibilities of the design profession, acquired through the process of designing and building truly collaborative projects, which provide affordable housing or workspace for community members or organizations.

How will it achieve “scale”?
Picture a group of committed, creative and highly motivated students working under the close tutelage of a master craftsperson and experienced designers, putting theory into practice, engaging in practical problem-solving, learning key skills and concepts while doing something of concrete benefit to the communities of central and northern Vermont - and then returning to their home institution energized and imagining a whole array of new possibilities for their own and others’ education. Semester Program graduates will become the next generation of designers and builders leading and redefining the green building movement. After completing the program, we expect them to return to their home universities armed with an in-depth understanding of ecological design and the hands-on building skills necessary to both inform and realize their design process. We anticipate a ripple effect, first in their university programs, and then in their initial work environment (whatever the field), as their fresh outlook on the principles and practice of sustainable design/build impacts fellow students and colleagues.

What’s at stake?
If we can garner enough votes – from YOU and your friends – then we’ll receive $5,000 to support the ongoing development of this groundbreaking new program, which is Yestermorrow’s biggest initiative in 2010. The grant will support the further development of curriculum and partnerships for the program. In the long run, it will help us eventually reach a whole new segment of learners and institutions, helping to spread our design/build philosophy and sustainable design expertise in countless new directions.

The bottom line? No one has done this kind of program before, the need has never been greater, and Yestermorrow is uniquely positioned to make it happen. Help us make this vision a reality – vote today!

Thanks for your support,
Kate Stephenson
Executive Director