A few years from now, when patrons drop by campus’ new retail meat shop to buy some bacon or brats, they may no longer need to hunt for a parking space. If a design concept developed by a group of CALS and School of Human Ecology (SoHE) students becomes reality, the store would feature a handy drive-thru window.

That’s just one of many exciting ideas that students came up with during a recent design session hosted by SoHE’s design studies department and CALS’ animal sciences department, which houses the college’s meat science program. During the session, which brought together 21 students majoring in animal science, design studies, food science, art and computer science, the students worked in groups to brainstorm possible ideas for the look and feel of campus’ future meat store, which will open when CALS’ new meat science building is completed in 2017.

To kick things off, Roberto Rengel, professor and chair of design studies, provided coffee and inspiration, encouraging the students to focus on creating a beautiful and functional space, without getting bogged down by practical problems. “We want you to think about what the experience is,” he told them.

The students were then led through the design process by Amy Duwell Brockdorf, a design studies MFA candidate. Animal sciences faculty members Dan Schaefer, Jim Claus and Jeff Sindelar were on hand to provide background on the meat science program’s research and outreach activities and answer questions about plans for the new building.

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Some design concepts developed during the session.

The groups followed common principles of design thinking to develop their concepts. Along the way, they consulted Pinterest boards, YouTube playlists, Google Images and samples from the design lab for information and inspiration.

At the end of the session, the groups presented their top ideas, which included having the storefront look like an historic neighborhood meat shop, with brick walls and a bench out front; having a mobile meat cart to sell products across campus; affixing “meet-your-meat-processor” mini-profiles to products; providing educational materials related to meat processing; amongst many others.

Down the line, these ideas will be shared with the state-selected design firm chosen to work on the new meat science building. Whether or not any of their concepts end up incorporated into the final design, the students agreed that participating in the process was a valuable learning experience in and of itself.