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Students to explore solutions for sustainability and action in partnership with global communications company

November 16, 2010

Jaime Winne Alvarez
(315) 443-3784

“Connect a Billion/Do One Thing for Sustainability,” an intense brainstorming and design session, will be hosted this weekend, Nov. 19-20, at Syracuse University’s COLAB collaboration laboratory. Thirty-six students from six SU schools and colleges will come together in a two-day charrette to explore creative solutions for global creative communications company Saatchi & Saatchi’s “Do One Thing” (DOT) campaign for environmental sustainability and action.

sifeA charrette is a collaborative session in which a group ideates on solutions surrounding a specific topic or problem. SU’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) and Whitman School of Management have teamed up with Saatchi & Saatchi for the charrette, which will be facilitated by COLAB, based in SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA). SIFE has been invited to take a leadership role in the DOT campaign, with the goal of creating a viral marketing campaign across the SU and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) campuses and a digital space that will serve as a roadmap for launching DOT programs on college campuses around the nation.

DOT encourages each person to choose one thing to pursue regularly that will have a positive impact on the environment. It can be anything from walking to work to drinking from a reusable water bottle to calling relatives once a week. The objective of DOT is to encourage personal, sustainable practices. One person’s DOT may stand alone, but if a billion DOTs are connected together, a movement of change will happen.

The public is invited to attend the opening panel discussion on sustainability with Saatchi & Saatchi’s Phil Ma, senior account supervisor, and Aaron Schiller, global director of sustainability, on Friday, Nov. 19, at 5:30 p.m. The discussion will take place at The Warehouse Auditorium, 350 W. Fayette St., Syracuse. Free parking is available in Warehouse lots.

After Saatchi & Saatchi executives present a brief on the campaign, students will be assigned to small groups to begin the charrette process, which involves brainstorming, drafting and prototyping concepts. The process consists of three segments: idea mining (generating ideas), idea sorting (grouping ideas into related categories) and idea growing (identifying and developing the best ideas). Students will be guided by COLAB facilitators through each stage of the process. Once a group has settled on an idea, it will quickly create a prototype version, which must be formally presented to the class.

Faculty sponsor of the charrette is Amanda Nicholson, assistant professor of retail management in the Whitman School. Nicholson and COLAB facilitators Chris McCray and Shoham Arad will provide continuous instruction, guidance and verbal feedback throughout the weekend. Presentations of ideas and conclusions from the charrette are open to the public and will take place on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 3:30 p.m. at COLAB, fourth floor of The Warehouse.

For those who want to follow along with the charrette, a live site where blogs and tweets will be posted is available at

For more information about the charrette, visit or contact Carlota Deseda-Coon of COLAB at (315) 443-1476 or

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