b-school to d-school…

Jordan Evans, a recent graduate from the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program at the University of Guelph, talks about his experience graduating from a ‘business school’ then moving on to study at ‘design school’.  Moving from studying hospitality and tourism to interior design may sound quite opposite but Jordan proves there are many links and similarities you may have not previously considered.

By Jordan Evans

I think it was in third year when I realized that my career post-‘HAFA’ (Guelph’s slang for a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Hotel and Food Administration) would be a little skewed from the norm. This was a hard pill to swallow, as I always knew I wanted to be a businessman. It was then I identified what my new path would be: interior design (I was the guy constantly changing his furniture in his room as a child), and there was only one place I wanted to go. Ryerson’s School of Interior Design is among the best interior design programs globally, and it was my dream to study there. I spent forth year juggling my U of G classes, while attending art school in Toronto trying to develop some semblance of a portfolio. One interview, a portfolio review, an essay and drawing test later, I was accepted! I still don’t know how…

When I saw the UGSRP blog, I thought it was a really exciting project, and thought I could share some of my learning’s with regards to sustainability. I don’t think a day goes by where my classes don’t touch on the subject, as it is one of, if not the most, important topic in the design of built environments today. The sad reality is that the design/construction industry produces 50% of the waste in the world. That’s a terrifying statistic. Gone are the days of simply having a space demolished to build a new restaurant and sending the former structure to the landfill. It really is about responsibly disposing of things no longer in use. Our first project this semester was to dismantle and responsibly dispose of a previous years detail model.  It involved researching where each material component would go, and the most sustainable method of disposal/reuse. Thankfully we have organizations such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) who champion green design and green performance within the built environment. Foodservice design needs not to simply adhere to a desired aesthetic, but needs to improve water efficiency, lower energy usage, decrease emissions and incorporate environmental sensibilities.

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Jordan with one of his first design projects at Ryerson University's School of Interior Design

I have gone to a number of lectures regarding the built environment, and it is great to hear the buy-in from businesses with regards to sustainable design.  I recently went to a talk by Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects in New York, who said that when working on a headquarters for a large organization, the management explained to him that unless his design adhered to LEED Platinum (the highest ranking), he would have failed. The organization wanted their space to be far more advanced with regards to environmental stewardship. This is a really powerful message by an organization, and hopefully this is the attitude moving forward. Like systems thinking taught us, if we believe in sustainability, we need to imbed it into every aspect of our businesses and spaces.

It is has been quite the journey from b school to d school, but I couldn’t be happier. You really have to do what you believe in, and what you think will give your life the most meaning and value, whatever that may be for you. I think this is a great forum for sustainability dialogue, and if anyone has any questions about design school or anything really, send me an email: jordan.evans@ryerson.ca

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Jordan's way of incorporating his love for food & drink with design - designing his own kitchen utensil, a citrus juicer!

One thought on “b-school to d-school…

  1. It’s so great that you’ve had the courage to do this Jordan. I studied law but my loves have always been food and art. I’m concentrating on food now and drawing and doing some graphic design work as a hobby. I think there’ll be a lot people that may say you wasted you’re time studying business but in fact you’ve added and spent a lot less time deliberating than most others when they change career when they’re older.

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