How might we enhance communication and activism resources between Carnegie Mellon students and the institution’s contracted employees?

Timeline: 6 weeks


︎︎︎ Universal Methods of Design
︎︎︎ Ethical design research process

Task: Employ a human-centered research and design process in order to propose a prototyped intervention for our chosen design oppurtunity.

Most of the people integral to maintaining CMU dining are contracted by Chartwells, which is owned by the Compass Group. It's obvious through experience that these employees are understaffed and overworked, especially since the return to a full capacity campus. Employees that work in a substandard environment will understandably be less motivated and more likely to adopt a poor attitude. This is reflected in how students feel about dining and their campus. We saw a need for improved communication between CMU students and the school’s contracted workers.

Our group began by researching the problem space and the different stakeholders involved. We then moved into actual research. We used our findings and design principles to alter our initial research question and propose appropriate solutions.

The ideal solution would be to alter the way Carnegie Mellon contracts its workers to provide a working space that is equitable and offers strong workplace and living benefits. However, due to the complexity of this solution and the intricacies of executing it, we hope to use our initial solution to provide the resources for Chartwells union members to enact this on their own. By providing a stronger communication link between workers and students, service employees would have a better space to call upon student advocacy for support and resources.

Hannah Lesser 2022