Make It RAIN! Toys! Studio Press Release

The following is the press release for our Toys! design studio project (design a ‘happening’), written by myself and our professor, Mitchell Squire (but mostly written by Mitchell).


Make it RAIN!
ISU College of Design students brings creative awareness to the issue of student loan debt by hosting a locally sponsored balloon drop.

In 2012 the Institute for College Access & Success reported that 71% of all students graduating from four-year colleges had loan debt. Average debt levels at the time had risen to $29,400, a 25% increase from 2008. About one-fifth of all 2012 graduates’ debt was comprised of private loans. Notably, graduates who had received Pell Grants were much more likely to borrow even more, averaging $31,200 per borrower.

Unfortunately, according to CollegeInSight, Iowa college graduates in 2011-2012 had a debt load that was the sixth highest in the country, and those from Iowa State University topped the list. And the upward trend continues.

In an effort to raise awareness on campus of the increasing load of student debt, students enrolled in the design studio Toys! are hosting an event, “Make it RAIN!,” a creative project that symbolizes their wish to be free of debt. At high noon on Wednesday, March 4, 2015, twenty-five hundred colorful balloons filled with an assortment of prizes from local businesses will rain from the top of the 5-story atrium in the College of Design. Over $500 in gift cards, cash, and coupons from 17 sponsors, plus written facts about student debt will be free for the taking.

The students’ visual representation of a debt ceiling and the creation of the event stem from studio discussions and research on the financial pressures burdening all creative disciplines.

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Toys! is an interdisciplinary design studio supervised by Associate Professor of Architecture Mitchell Squire and offered in Iowa State University College of Design. Each semester, one particular project, “The Happening,” challenges students to determine whether or not play can influence the social structure of an academic institution through public events of collective engagement.

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This Wednesday will be the event…until then I will continue having nightmares of the net falling on innocent atrium-dwellers. Check back this weekend for the documentation of the event!

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