Inside the preservation story of Atlanta's Ivy Hall

May
20
2015

In honor of Preservation Month, we celebrate Savannah College of Art and Design's Ivy Hall. On May 21, 1917, the Great Fire of Atlanta spared one of the South’s rare examples of Queen Anne-style architecture, the Edward C. Peters House, or Ivy Hall after the Peters family symbol. Flanked at the time by a long dirt road, now the busy thoroughfare of Ponce de Leon Avenue, Ivy Hall landed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. In 2000, as The Mansion Restaurant, Ivy Hall barely survived another devastating blaze. It took more than fate to intervene and save the house a third time.

“We worked seven years on the process and we were glad to see SCAD come in on a white horse to really save the building,” said Boyd Coons, executive director of the Atlanta Preservation Center. "We stopped the destruction, but we needed SCAD to come in and be the steward of this.”

As Atlantans and tourists may recall, the once grand manor resembled a haunted house until SCAD received it as a donation in 2007. After undertaking an award-winning restoration that involved interior design and historic preservation students, the university reopened Ivy Hall in 2008 as home to SCAD Atlanta’s writing program.

That’s good preservation because it’s not just making a house a museum, it has a sustaining purpose. That kind of use and adaptive reuse is what’s really important. - Boyd Coons

Ivy Hall hosts writing classes and connects students and the public to renowned writers like New York Times best-selling author Augusten Burroughs, Camille Paglia, Pearl Cleage and Cinda Williams Chima. In this way, Ivy Hall’s importance has come full circle.

Another pivotal author, Margaret Mitchell, is said to have based Gone with the Wind’s character Rhett Butler on Richard Peters, father to Edward Peters who built Ivy Hall in 1883. His home lives on as a center for aspiring writers. Quite a journey for what was once considered one of Atlanta's most endangered places.

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Randi Zuckerberg uncomplicates social innovation

April
28
2015

Randi Zuckerberg is a busy woman. She’s the former director of market development for Facebook, the founder and CEO of boutique marketing firm and production company Zuckerberg Media, an author and, in her words, the Zuckerberg “who graduated from Harvard.” Also a sought-after speaker, Zuckerberg recently visited Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta. Keeping with the spirit of her online community and book Dot Complicated, Zuckerberg helped the audience at SCADShow decipher future trends in technology and social media. Interspersed with a technological ballad sung to the tune of Under the Sea and a nursery rhyme with lines like, “Eeny, meeny, miny, mode teach a toddler how to code,” Zuckerberg shared a list of trends we can’t ignore. Here are five takeaways from her talk What’s Next in Social Innovation and How We Interact with the 21st Century Consumer.

Entreployees rule
The maker movement has spawned the rise of the “entreployee,” people who work full-time for a business while launching one of their own. Many employers welcome this because they’re looking for creative people and problem solvers, which should make artists and designers optimistic about their career prospects. But be warned: changing employment trends mean changing hiring practices and your next interview might take place via Snapchat.

Social media is not optional
Social media is not a fad and smart companies are taking it seriously. There’s still unlimited potential for social media to revolutionize the business-to-consumer relationship. One example is the 1888 Hotel in Sydney, Australia where travelers with 10,000 Instagram followers stay free — yes, free.

Learn and learn from technology
From silly to serious, technology is achieving the unthinkable. 3D printers create everything from fashion accessories to prosthetics. Smart contact lenses will make it easier for diabetics to test their glucose levels. Online (and often free) educational tools mean people never have to stop learning and can learn just about anywhere. Fun toys and games can hook kids on science and engineering. We can learn a great deal from technology about how to think bigger in our respective professions.

Innovation is like a box of chocolates
With social and technological breakthroughs, you never know what you’re going to get. We have inventive educational toys, books and games. Then someone takes it too far and designs the iPotty. Fitbits are helpful, but does the world really need a scale that tweets the user’s weight? The same 3D printers that make shoes and iPhone cases can also make guns and bullets. Virtual reality can be used to help cure people of their phobias, but also to create first-person shooter games that, according to Zuckerburg, might be a little too realistic. Innovation inspires excitement, but also requires prudence.

Balance is best
The next great social innovation just might be unplugging. It is exactly what it sounds like: leaving technology behind for an afternoon or weekend. We can get ahead of this trend by enjoying the outdoors, wandering through a used bookstore, and talking to people without looking at our phone or taking a selfie. Not exactly the advice one would expect from a social media maven, but it's exactly why Zuckerberg is a breath of fresh air.

Catherine Ramsdell is the associate chair of liberal arts at SCAD Atlanta, and has been teaching writing and English courses at SCAD since 2000. She also writes for Popmatters.com, an online magazine of cultural criticism.

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Loglines from aTVfest 2015

February
13
2015

The star-studded line up of Savannah College of Art and Design’s third annual television festival sent #aTVfest trending. But true to the tag line – Go Behind the Screen - the buzz was as much about the people who make television as it was about the people on it. In addition to the actors, directors, producers, editors, show runners and programmers shared invaluable insights on the state of the industry. Below are some of the recurring themes that emerged from the panels and screenings.

Shows serving up the foreign and the familiar are surging.
Digital is the answer to two seemingly incongruous trends of shows getting simultaneously more personal and unfamiliar. The reason is, unlocked from the vise of linear TV, content is free to speak to narrower audiences. At the same time, the proliferation of content spawned by digital distribution has audiences wanting to go deeper into immersive worlds where they can escape the “noise” and get lost in a rare environment. It’s why Travel Channel greenlit coming of age adventure, "Boy to Man" and why "Game of Thrones" and "Downton Abbey" are favorites.

New technologies complicate workflow but are making content better.
Helping to feed the appetite for more immersive worlds on the small screen is the increasing affordability of visual effects for television. While permitting show creators endless creative freedom, the explosion of new technologies and formats can hamper show delivery and are transforming workflows. This is true of the most sophisticated formats, like Ultra HD, and the most pedestrian, like the refurbished cell phones being used to shoot a show for BET. What is a headache for post supervisors and editors, however, is a bonus for those entering the industry. Easy access to these tools for aspiring producers and editors, and their mastery of them before they get hired, will make it easier for them to land jobs, even while they're still students.

Cord cutters, ‘cord nevers’ and superfans are overthrowing business as usual.
To capture audiences who have never watched or rarely watch linear TV, networks are pulling out all the stops: giving pre-releases to Netflix and Amazon and producing original digital content alongside show content. It’s not just about finding audiences who aren’t watching TV, but about keeping the ones who are in front of the tube longer. So there are new tools in programmers arsenals, like pods of fresh content in the middle of commercials, deep teases, super teases, cliff hangers and marathon viewing. Then there’s the superfans, like "Scandal's" ‘gladiators.’ In the process of using their personal social networks to over share their enthusiasm for certain shows, these viewers become the ultimate brand ambassadors. In return, they expect direct access to the writers, actors and glam squads. More than ratings, social media and word of mouth are so crucial to a show’s success that some networks have added cast member social media classes to their marketing playbooks.

Authenticity is getting more authentic.
Technology like drones and HDR increasingly provide consumers an unrestricted and unfiltered view. Meanwhile, digital has heightened attention to diverse points of view. Both of these realties contribute to an appetite for real perspectives and an environment where TV can help you to truly connect instead of assimilate. So networks are moving away from creating situations to building shows around realities that already exist. This is easiest to see in unscripted programming like HGTV’s hit "Fixer Upper," which takes viewers into the marriage and renovation business of husband and wife team Chip and Joanna Gaines.

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Livestream: aTVfest panel explores the future of television

February
7
2015

On Saturday, February 7 at 11 a.m. EST, watch the aTVfest Television Roundtable live from Atlanta. TV journalists will offer their insight on the state of the industry, including why television is in a golden age, the impact of airing online versus broadcast and cable, their favorite TV shows and more. 

 

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The making of a viral wedding video

January
5
2015

Before the holidays, you may have shared, "Liked" or received Savannah College of Art and Design alum Tony Pombo’s (M.F.A., film and television, 2008) viral wedding video. His Atlanta-based production company Iris Films documented a husband (Steven) surprising his wife (Kelli) with an epic anniversary celebration, then watched the social media stratosphere explode with admiration. It’s proof that good work speaks for itself. With a season full of engagements complete, and eager brides gearing up to plan their nuptials, the timing couldn’t be better for Tony’s business. Here’s the story behind the video and his success as an entrepreneur. It’s not Tony's first viral video.

Thread: What do you think about all the attention your video has received? How did it get picked up by BuzzFeed and Cosmopolitan?

Tony Pombo: This video has been a whirlwind for me. It has gotten all kinds of exposure, which is fantastic. When completed, I sent it over to the husband in the video for review. He loved it and put it on his YouTube channel immediately. Slowly but surely, it got more and more hits and shares. Before we knew it, it was being picked up by all sorts of media outlets. Pretty exciting stuff.

T: How did this collaboration between you and the client unfold?

TP: It came about just as any other wedding video would go. He took a look at my work and really liked the look and feel that I have in my videos, so he reached out. This was months and months prior to the big day. We were in constant contact throughout and discussed all aspects of the shoot.

T: Tell us about directing the video and your production decisions: crew, cameras, audio, etc.

TP: We have filmed all sorts of weddings, from the fun and quirky, to million dollar extravaganzas. One of the key things I learned from my experience is that traveling light is the best way to go. I keep all of my essentials within arms reach, but the smaller the better. For this shoot, there were two videographers (myself and another), two cameras (Canon 5D Mark III and Mark II), and two lavaliere packs that I mic’d the husband and the rabbi with. The husband hired a coordinator to go over the logistics of people moving, arranging the band, keeping secrets, etc. I met with them to stay in the loop and it all went flawlessly.

T: What storytelling devices or techniques did you call upon?

TP: One of the biggest things was getting the story from the horse’s mouth as soon as we got there. That way, I wouldn’t need to waste a lot of time with slates telling us what was going on. We were able to hear it from the husband and hear the excitement and passion in his voice. Another thing was that he had originally planned for me to film his wife getting blindfolded and then follow them in a separate car back to the house. I suggested that we lead her into the backseat instead while I rode in the front so we could get a firsthand look and her initial reaction.

T: When it comes to a viral video, do you think it’s the content or the form that compels people to share it?

TP: It’s really a toss up, as it could be either or a combination of both. You never really know what is going to get picked up or not. Sometimes it’s just a feeling. For example, I had a feeling that this would be big the moment I heard the idea. I had another video go viral about a month before this one. It’s a personal video that I did where we revealed to my mom the gender of our baby. I knew that it would hit big just because of my mom’s reaction. I got calls from Yahoo and The Ellen Show and all sorts of places. It just goes to show that it could be something you just randomly shoot on your phone or a produced piece. It just happens.

T: Why did you get into the wedding business? Wedding videography seems to have evolved significantly.

TP: I was working as a creative director for a company after graduating from SCAD. I decided to shoot weddings on the weekends, as they were not a conflict of interest with my job and I could make some extra cash. I did my first few weddings for free to get an idea of how they are. I really liked it. They are extremely fast-paced and hectic at times, but I meet tons of really amazing people and contacts all the time, which have led to all sorts of other work. People seemed to like my take on weddings and I was getting more and more popular. Enough so that I was able to leave my job and focus on my business full-time. It has been a dream come true. And, yes, the wedding videography scene is not like it was 10-20 years ago. People get a chance to have an actual cinematic experience where they are the stars instead of their uncle with a handy cam capturing their day. It really is an awesome opportunity for the couples.

T: What are the benefits of using your film degree outside of the mainstream industry?

TP: I think it just helps to add a bit more validity to what I do. I am very proud of my MFA degree and I know that it gives me a bit of an advantage when being compared to others in my field.

T: As a professional storyteller, what advice do you give your clients on documenting their most important memories?

TP: My biggest advice is just to be yourself. Every wedding is different because the people are different. And that is a great thing. Even people who are camera shy, that is totally fine. They just get lost in the moment of the day while spending it with their new spouse that they forget we are even there. I like to try and make it feel that I have known, not only the couple, but all of their friends and family for years. Like I am an old friend coming in to shoot their wedding for them. To be honest, this is one of my best secrets that people talk about when recommending me to others. Personality on the day is so crucial.

T: How did SCAD prepare you to form a successful production company?

TP: SCAD helped me the most by giving me a direction to follow in my life. When I graduated from my undergraduate university, I was still a bit lost on which path I wanted to go down. I was passionate but not the most confident in my work. SCAD helped me evolve and grow as a filmmaker and as an adult, which ultimately led to my business.

T: What insights would you share with film students or those looking to attend film school?

TP: Be open to new ideas and new people. This is such a collaborative industry where it is all about networking and being social. You are going to work with people that you might not necessarily have hung out with before attending film school, and more often than not, they will inspire you and help you grow as an artist.

T: What’s next for you and Iris?

TP: I am branching further into branding and creative, corporate work along with more fun and exciting weddings. I also want to get back to my film roots and create another short film or two in the near future. I just had my first little girl a few months back and she has become my full inspiration to tackle the world. 2015 is going to be great.

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Where to look for the next big idea in design? The university.

December
17
2014

Given, there’s a universal quality to “good design.” But how far does universal go? When it comes to solving for design dilemmas and implementing these solutions in city-specific ways, does good design really mean the same thing in New York, London, Paris? Across all continents? In the case of SCADpad®, World Architecture News answered “yes” when it handed Savannah College of Art and Design its first international award for the SCADpad micro-house community.

Attracting more than 1,300 entries from 72 countries, the WAN Awards are among the largest of their kind, and a barometer for what’s trending in architecture and urban design on a global scale. SCADpad emerged a winner from a long list of submissions from countries as far flung as Singapore and Sydney, Florence and Monterrey.

Why does SCADpad resonate internationally? It goes beyond the three prototypes, inspired by and named for Asia, Europe and North America.

SCAD is a global institution with a presence on three continents and a diverse student body that hails from more than 100 countries worldwide. A natural and regular outgrowth of its composition are projects that transcend international borders and push the limits of what’s being done in design.

That’s a good idea! We have been talking about this for years and here they did it. -WAN Award judge Mark Mimram, Marc Mimram Architects, Paris

Even when SCAD acts locally, as it did when it built SCADpad in its back yard (well, parking deck), its agenda is global. Underpinning that agenda is a belief that design can change the world, and the world view of aspiring designers who are informed by experiences in their home countries, like industrial design student Chung-Hsiang Wang (Taichung City, Taiwan) who created 3-D objects for SCADpad.

I've lived in Bombay and seen the space constraints, especially in the slum area. Micro-housing units could be a solution. - Sharika Menon, interior design student and SCADpad resident

Secondly, when design efficiently addresses a pressing social concern, especially one that is widely held, it sparks conversation. Globally, the urban population is expected to increase to 5 billion people over the next two decades. With half the world’s population already living in urban areas, this increase will squeeze the global housing inventory even more. Simultaneously, the parking garage has reentered the dialogue and presented new opportunities for architectural ingenuity. Think 1111 Lincoln Road in Miami.

SCAD aligned these trends, added a dose of expertise in adaptive reuse, and created a laboratory where 75 graduate and undergraduate students from 12 academic programs - including furniture and interactive design, architecture and design for sustainability - could apply their solutions for the urban housing shortage.

The resulting SCADpads may not have been created outside of the university setting. If urban design by its nature is transdisciplinary, then very seldom do the resources exist outside of a collaborative setting like the academic one to solve for the kind of pressing global issues that rarely see breakthrough solutions.

So, it appears, SCADpad was recognized by an international body as much for the final result as it was for the process behind its creation.

Though it was the only university-sponsored project among WAN’s 2014 urban design contenders, SCADpad is evidence that, just as the world depends on research universities for scientific breakthroughs, we can look to art and design universities to inspire and deliver viable concepts for our most pressing social challenges. We should follow WAN's lead and take a closer look inside these classrooms for the next big ideas.

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What is branded entertainment? Ask Stafford Green.

November
18
2014

Branded entertainment is pervasive. You’ve probably shared, “Liked” or been the target of such campaigns without even knowing how this content gets made. Stafford Green, honorary chairman of branded entertainment at Savannah College of Art and Design, is hoping to change that. An award-winning marketer for major brands like Coca-Cola, Stafford partnered with SCAD to start the country’s first academic degree program in branded entertainment, a $44 billion dollar industry. He didn’t arrive at being a brand marketing leader through a formulaic path, but he’s hoping that SCAD’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program will provide a map for those who want to enjoy a career similar to his.

Thread: Welcome to SCAD. For starters, what is branded entertainment?

Stafford Green: Branded entertainment means creating entertaining content that can capture and maintain consumer attention. It allows brands to make deeper connections with their audiences by engaging them wherever they happen to be – at a concert, on a mobile phone, watching TV, sitting with a PC, eating popcorn at a cinema, or experiencing an art installation.

Branded entertainment captivates audiences using great storytelling.

It’s no longer sufficient to simply push messages, especially to Millennials. Consumers increasingly demand brand messages that inform and entertain. Companies need to attract consumers with desirable messages and stories; to give their audience reasons to listen, engage and buy. I was a branded entertainment creative and producer at Coca-Cola. I loved working with a big global brand where I was allowed to combine and cross different artistic mediums in order to connect with consumers. It was fun, lucrative, creative and big. It was a great ride and one that I hope to help others achieve, too.

T: Tell us more about your work for Coca-Cola?

SG: Until last summer, I worked at Coca-Cola for many years helping the company transform how we advertised big brands like Coke, Sprite and Vitamin Water. My team held 'how to' workshops all over the world to teach trends in digital marketing and emerging media. We created The Coca-Cola Content Factory to prove that fans, crowds and small producers can create amazing films, games and websites more quickly and more cheaply by using new methods and technologies. We helped the company achieve great success by changing how it communicates to consumers who are powered up with new devices.

While my team was making an impact in this regard, I found myself wanting to make a personal contribution outside of Coke. So I retired early because I wanted to give back to a younger generation. I know you hear people say that, and it sounds like such spin, but I honestly wanted to do something good for the world. What I had learned in over two decades at Coke was a better, more authentic way of advertising – the kind of cool marketing that is evolving into new forms of communication. SCAD was a perfect fit to help me achieve my mission.

T: What makes SCAD the ideal place to launch an undergraduate degree in branded entertainment?

SG: SCAD is a special place and an ideal launching pad for this creative-business endeavor. Because the university has the faculty and degree programs it takes to make the branded entertainment degree possible, from advertising, to game development and foundations classes, we didn’t have to build the major from scratch. Second, where it was missing classes, like a branded entertainment portfolio development class, SCAD invested the time and energy to create these classes and to do it well. Third, SCAD’s approach to liberal arts, inclusive of subjects like color theory and Western art, gives students a critical and often overlooked foundation for telling authentic stories. It isn’t just about the mechanics.   

Home to more than a dozen Fortune 500 companies, Atlanta is laboratory where students can immerse themselves directly into advertising's revolution, and SCAD Atlanta has some of the most amazing equipment. For one, the Digital Media Center, complete with a TV studio, green screen lab, game studies lab and more, allows students to experiment with what they’re learning in order to build an industry-valued portfolio. Simply put, this is a great place to be.

T: How do you go about building a program that is so interdisciplinary in scope?

SG: I worked hard to build a program that will give advertising and art production students a competitive edge for the careers. The idea is that when they graduate with a degree in branded entertainment and are sitting in front of an interviewer, they will be able to answer questions and show a portfolio like no other candidate. They’ll understand how to apply a brand voice to the art of storytelling and possess the brand-inspired production talent to make a film, game or interactive asset. I want grads to rock. The process was driven by the excellent leadership of SCAD’s ‎chief academic officer, Gokhan Ozaysin. He connected me to dozens of smart professors and administrators in many disciplines at SCAD so we could choose the right program requirements. What makes the build particularly terrific is that I leveraged my industry friends, too; people I have met during the course of working in 12 countries over the last 25 years.

Marketing professionals from Microsoft, 20th Century Fox, Apple and Google all had a part in building the curriculum.

Award-winning agencies like Work Club in London gave advice. At conferences I would quiz everyone on program specifics, from L'Oreal, to Buzzfeed and InBev. One thing is certain: the industry, comprised of movie studios, consumer goods companies, agencies and media companies, loves this idea. Their positive response confirmed to me that what we're building at SCAD is unique and valuable. We’re setting the stage to make a difference by giving students the power to create better advertising and to excite and entertain audiences for generations to come.

T: Which academic subjects comprise the degree requirements?

SG: Branded entertainment is a multidisciplinary approach that combines art and science, business and creativity.

The job of this major is to release the grand storyteller in all of us.

Foundational subjects in marketing theory, design, English, writing, drawing and storytelling provide a liberal arts basis. Business and entrepreneurial classes will give students the tools to run their own companies. For those wishing to work for large companies, the program will provide instruction on how to pitch an idea internally and negotiate corporate politics in order to see that idea through to fruition. Concentrations in gaming, film and television, or interactive will give students corresponding production skills and a portfolio for job interviews.

I must emphasize that the overall theme is storytelling. There isn’t a simple formula to what makes good branded entertainment. It’s about creating a uniquely personal and emotional experience every time.

Consumers want quality, branded entertainment anywhere at any time - they will reward companies with their loyalty who get this right. I really look forward to SCAD's branded entertainment graduates creating share-worthy film, game and interactive content that rises above the noise with brilliant branded storytelling. This is exciting! - Joe Tripodi, Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer, The Coca-Cola Company

T: Are graduates with this type of degree and expertise in demand?

SG: Yes and these jobs can be really fun. A quick search for “branded content” or “branded entertainment” on a job site like indeed.com delivers substantial opportunities. That’s because agencies and companies everywhere are starved for content. New media companies, such as Netflix, Amazon and Buzzfeed, need producers for games and films. Movie studios need help authentically placing brands in stories because generic product placement is awful! Gaming companies need new sources of revenue. Creating ways of connecting with brands through smart storytelling is a brilliant way to achieve all of this.

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SCADpad micro-house is a solution for TODAY

July
7
2014

Savannah College of Art and Design's futuristic micro-house experiment, SCADpad®, is on the minds of media giants lately. TIME Magazine covered SCADpad in its "Smart Home" feature and NBC flew TODAY Show correspondent Jenna Wolfe to Atlanta for her own personal tour. In case the summer finds you behind on either, catch up by reading and watching now.

 

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AD's Margaret Russell's 'simple truths' for graduates

June
2
2014

A good commencement address is irresistible. Whether graduating or firmly planted in career or school, the distilled life experience and wisdom are too convenient and enlightening to pass up. And so, in case you missed Savannah College and Art and Design's 2014 commencement ceremonies, here's speaker Margaret Russell's 'simple truths', which she delivered to SCAD's 1,560 graduates in Atlanta and Savannah after tracing her rise to the helm of Elle Decor and now Architectural Digest.

I’m going to end with some simple truths, some things to keep in mind as you enter the workforce. These are more pragmatic than they are profound. Actually, they’re tips to help you do well at work and to keep you from annoying your future bosses.

Be early.
I remain challenged by this, but I’m usually still the first person at the AD offices each morning. It’s better to consistently arrive early at work than to have to consistently stay late.

Be a trouble shooter and problem solver.
These are key qualities that everyone in every industry looks for when hiring. Think ahead and always anticipate the unexpected.

Expect good and don’t gossip.
Don’t ever write emails that might land you in trouble if read in public. Email should communicate facts, not emotion.

Be aware of the power of social media and never post a photo when it’s clear that you’ve had far too much fun.
Your bosses are also on Google, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and they will find you. Try imagining that your social accounts have a pause button and take a breath before you hit send.

Embrace change as it’s the most constant aspect of your future.
The happiest people around you are those who are flexible and adapt well.

Don’t be afraid to ask; ask for everything. Just never have a sense of entitlement when you do.
Some of the best stories published in the magazines I’ve edited are there because I had the nerve to go after them.

Don’t be afraid, period.
Life’s too short. Conquer your fears today.

Pay attention.
Listen, stay focused, be ambitious, have common sense, show good judgment.

Do the right thing.
You’ll never go wrong by doing what you truly believe is right.

Give back.
I love AD, but the most rewarding work I do is philanthropic or political. Volunteer, develop your personal sense of social responsibility and integrate it into your daily life.

Think green.
Please think green because your forebears did not. Use your genius to save our planet.

Find your passion and your joy.
I hire people who are passionate about their work. I’ve always been told that there’s no place for emotion at work, and indeed that’s true. But I know for sure that being passionate about what you do will drive you to far greater success.

Feed your creativity. Get off your iPhone. Look up.
Don’t passively email someone sitting a few feet from you in the office. Talk to each other, write thank you notes, read books.

Don’t settle. Expect the best. Want to be the best.

You are so well prepared to make your way and to change the world and we can’t wait to see what you’ll do. Congratulations, class of 2014. We honor and admire you. Here’s to your brilliant future. Here’s to tomorrow.

Share your favorite or most memorable piece of commencement advice by posting it in the comments below.

 

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A taste of tiny living in SCADpad

May
7
2014

I volunteered to live in Savannah College of Art and Design's experimental micro-house SCADpad® because I wanted to test whether a 135 square-foot dwelling is truly liveable. I figured cooking was going to be my biggest challenge when I moved into SCADpad Europe this week: even when you have full-sized equipment (i.e. stove, oven), cooking in a small space is difficult. Where do you prep? Chop? Plate? Clean up? My mother is a fantastic cook. As a child, I was attached to her hip, which meant a lot of time with her in the kitchen. I learned to cook from her, absorbed it rather, over years of watching, mimicking and helping her prepare meal after meal.

But in a kitchen with only a sink, microwave, and a one-burner stovetop? Now that’s a challenge, especially if you’re going for something slightly healthier than mac ‘n cheese from a cardboard box.

My SCADpad kitchen is a single plane of countertop, 7 Women’s Size 7 Keds long by 2 Women’s Size 7 Keds deep. Half is taken up by the sink and single-burner stovetop. A large cutting board can squeeze in on the other half, next to the Keurig coffee maker and in front of the kitchen utensils. In other words, there’s not a lot of space. So how do you cook?

Three words: Keep. It. Simple.

I’m talking one pot simple: stir-fries, one pot pasta, lots of sautéing and steaming. For my first meal, I made stir-fry with lots of vegetables, some leftover roasted chicken I brought to SCADpad from home, and steamed rice. I call it SCADpad Stirfry.

While the space is tight, I can say that the SCADpad kitchen was designed for the user. Of course, everything is in reach. How could it not be? But in such a tight squeeze, burning yourself could be an issue. The SCADpad designers factored that in. The burner is “magnetic induction,” meaning the flat plane will only heat magnetized pots and pans. The “burner” will not burn you if you happen to graze your hand over it. You could place a stick of butter on the “hot burner” but it would not melt. The burner will only heat magnetized metal. All of the pots and pans in SCADpad have been specially made with magnetic coating to respond to the burner.

But if for some reason the cooking doesn’t work out, there is always the SCADpad iPad: use it to order delivery. Just be sure to give detailed directions to the parking deck.

Glennis Lofland is a writer, reader and occasional runner pursuing her M.F.A. in writing at SCAD Atlanta. A native Virginian from a country town called Crozier, she traveled across the globe before coming to Atlanta. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in linguistics from the College of William and Mary. Follow her on Twitter @GlennisLofland.

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