On campuses across the country,

interdisciplinary student teams collaborate with faculty, staff, and community leaders to address challenges in their local communities. DFA uses design thinking for positive impact.

Our tools, model, and coaching instill community, encourage creativity, and build student capacity to take on any challenge. Together, we use design as a force for good.


Local Teams Create Positive Impact


Tackling challenges with local partners


Generating solutions with mentors 



Putting ideas into practice 

It's a unique approach to social challenges - and it works.


Where We Work

Design for America is proudly housed at Northwestern University. Student-led studios are currently on 36 college and university campuses around the country, hosting 125 teams with over 1200 volunteer members, mentors, and community leaders. Studio members share ideas, resources, and best practices, while being supported by a network of more than 9,000 partners and fans.

Don't see a studio nearby?

Our Impact


students engaged


projects launched


secured to scale ideas

Founded at Northwestern University

"Design for America encapsulates the power of design innovation. Students from multiple disciplines come together to address real problems using design thinking to create impact. It benefits everyone."

- Julio M. Ottino, Dean, McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University

Our Partners

DFA is possible in part because of the generous support from: 



DFA Fellows 2016!

DFA Fellows 2016!

July 14, 2016

DFA National is excited to introduce our two new awesome Fellows joining us for 2016-2017! Design for America Fellows empower a network of 1000+ DFA members to create social change in their local communities and develop and deliver human-centered design learning to our 36 student-run studios. Please join us in welcoming Michelle and Deniz!   … Read More

Sustainability through Art with DFA Barnard|Columbia

Sustainability through Art with DFA Barnard|Columbia

July 13, 2016

  For the past academic year, a team at DFA Barnard|Columbia has spread excitement about sustainability and recycling through art. Their first project, an exhibit of students’ art, has already been on display during Spring 2016.   The team began in Fall 2014 with the general topic of sustainability and community. Their project really took … Read More

Design For America At NYU: Our Journey In Using Design Thinking

Design For America At NYU: Our Journey In Using Design Thinking

July 1, 2016

A special feature written by students of DFA NYU.   FROM OPENIDEO STUDENT CHAPTER TO DFA NYU Design for America of NYU was officially launched in May 2015. The concept of a design group first started at NYU in Fall 2011 as an OpenIDEO student chapter, part of the open social innovation community of OpenIDEO. … Read More