Sustainability Highlights

Living Green highlights a different WSU faculty who are advancing sustainability on or around campus through research, activism, innovation, business or volunteerism. Please submit recommendations for academic highlights to

Brian Kritzman and Sobhian Gregory, Industrial Design faculty within the Department of Art and Art History, exemplify the  triple bottom line of sustainability within their work.

Brian Kritzman                                                                                                                  Sobhian Gregory
Assciate Professor                                                                                                            Senior Lecturer


The Triple Bottom Line of the Arts


Industrial design students focus on research and design practice to create solutions that solve for unmet human needs. In the product design studios at WSU, students take on projects that focus on ergonomics and human factors. Examples of these projects include: designing kitchen utensils for senior citizens with age-related physical disabilities like arthritis or tooth loss; designing a concept for a horizontally positioned refrigerator that allows for improved ease-of-use for people who use wheelchairs or who may have a hard time bending down; exploring public transportation alternatives for People with Disabilities, senior citizens, and anyone else who relies on public transportation. Students just recently partnered with Masters of Urban Planning students to co-host a creative workshop with the public around the future of public transportation in the City of Detroit and beyond.


Industrial design students take part in “Noel Night,” an annual event of art and design to celebrate the winter holidays. Industrial Design students are instructed on designing a product to be produced in a small batch and sold during this seasonal event. This initiative promotes student entrepreneurship.


Design students conduct projects that address many concerns (both theoretical and real) that relate to the environment. For example, one project involves designing quiet objects to think theoretically about noise pollution. Other projects address access to fresh foods for people living in urban areas considered “food deserts”; changing public opinion and consumer behavior around bottled water consumption; the design of waterless toilets; products that address bicycle safety and security to promote urban cycling. In the classroom, students use recycled paper products and creatively incorporate found materials into their models and prototypes. They also promote a broader use of found materials beyond the professional design community. For example, one student built a few pieces of furniture out of old wooden pallets and created a set of instructions for anyone to build their own versions based on his design process.

Upcoming 2014 projects for the Industrial Design Department: 

“Buses as Communities” exhibition will be part of the Center for the Study of Citizenship Conference entitled “Place, (Dis)Place and Citizenship”:

 This exhibition will focus on the following:

  • Imagining the future of bus stations
  • The user experience of riders as they travel to and from the bus
  • Red-designing buses that can hold more bicycles and better accessibility for all people
  • Safety, sustainability and comfort on the bus and along the way

Water Catchment System

The Industrial Design Department will help design rain barrels with SEED Wayne. Rain barrels help to collect and conserve water usage.  These barrels also help to collect healthy, un-chlorinated water which can be used for plants and vegetables.

Previous Faculty Highlights

Professor James Nawara

The Office of Campus Sustainability has chosen to highlight James Nawara, who is currently a Senior Professor with a focus of painting and drawing in the James Pearson Duffy Department of Art & Art History. With 44 years of teaching at Wayne State University, Nawara is no stranger to the university and has contributed to students education while also continuing to be a part of the “Art World” himself.  Nawara’s department has been a great deal involved with Sustainability as it involves contributions to society and the environment.

The following points highlight environmentally-friendly practices, including:

  • All of the hazardous waste generated in the painting studios (dirty solvents, used paint rags, oily paper towels, empty paint tubes, various used empty containers of solvent, varnish, mediums, primer, etc.), are deposited in approved labeled containers for collection by the Wayne State University Hazardous Waste Management division.
  • Oil painting students use solvents for creating their art work.  These solvents can be reused until they become excessively muddy and then are discarded in the proper containers for disposal.  An area of potential is to let muddy solvent sit for two weeks to allow the pigment particles to settle, then pour off the clear solvent from the top and reuse (which the department seeks to encourage students to do more of).

Photo: Painting by James Nawara (Wayne State University, Painting & Drawing Professor)
Title:  “Buena Vista-High Winds” National Weather Center Biennale, 2013

Wayne State University’s Office of Campus Sustainability is very proud to highlight the environmental achievements of James Nawara and his contributions as a Painting & Drawing professor at the University.


Professor Carol Miller

Carol Miller is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Wayne State University. She is an active water resources researcher, having received grants from the National Science Foundation, Great Lakes Protection Fund, Engineering Foundation and others. Her research has involved both surface and subsurface water supplies and recently has included topics with a water/energy interface.

Miller teaches courses in fluid mechanics, engineering sustainability, river engineering and groundwater hydraulics. She is especially interested in urban environmental issues, having helped launch the Urban Watershed Environmental Research Group at Wayne State. She is chair of the President's Standing Committee on Environmental Initiatives. Miller received all her academic degrees from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is a licensed professional engineer in Michigan and past chair of the State Licensing Board. Her favorite off-campus activities most always include either a tennis racket or water.