Hector LaSala, Professor of Architecture and Design at the University of Louisiana Lafayette, will speak on “Situated Learning: Students Mending Communities through Design” at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9, in room 102-H of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy on West Virginia University’s Evansdale Campus.
Since its inception, the Building Institute at the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Louisiana Lafayette has aimed to open up new paths for the learning process of students by inserting them into a social context they have rarely encountered in any meaningful way: the world of chronic poverty, homelessness, addiction, mental illness, and the non-profit agencies that are in the trenches of these social battlefronts.
“In order to achieve a critical and active learning opportunity for our students, the Building Institute deliberately places them into a slice of present-day America where physical and societal conditions are at a crisis point,” LaSala said. “While their design and constructing skills generate the most visible outcomes, this should not diminish the impact that these participations have had on the capacity to reflect on their culture, social conditions, and communal needs.
“This sustained encounter by our students with at-risk populations has altered our students’ critical and ethical thinking in ways that are hard to measure but are real nevertheless,” LasSala concluded.
The lecture is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Division of Design and Merchandising in the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences.