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 Team Spotlight: Therapalz

DFA Team Spotlight: Therapalz

October 14, 2016

Throughout the summer 2016, two University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC) students worked full time at a campus accelerator building their DFA project as a business venture. Together, Isak Massman (‘18 Business) and Fiona Kalensky (‘18 Systems Engineering & Design), are expanding Therapalz: therapeutic robotic animals for people suffering from Alzheimer’s and Dementia. In the … Read More

DFA Northwestern Redesign helps GCFD Provide Free Summer Meals

DFA Northwestern Redesign helps GCFD Provide Free Summer Meals

August 29, 2016

This summer, youth throughout Chicago received lunches from GCFD buses with the help of a Northwestern Design for America team. Before DFA NU engaged, the buses were decorated with smiling vegetables and emphasized the fact that they handed out free meals, which made many students, especially teenagers, hesitant to approach the buses. It was this … Read More

Design for America: Designing for Democracy

Design for America: Designing for Democracy

August 24, 2016

DFA’s 6th annual national Leadership Studio in August brought together over 110 DFA student leaders with the support of community members, expert guests and DFA Alumni. The five day conference was packed with stories of leading successful DFA studios and ways design can shape students’ futures. The weekend centered around a two-day design innovation sprint that … Read More