Midwest Meetup is an annual, student-organized event that brings together various DFA studios in the midwest. This year, Midwest Meetup 2015 was hosted by Michigan State University and invited 6 schools to come together for a weekend of workshops and events that empower student leaders to make social impact. We at DFA National were amazed by the event! DFA MSU Studio Lead Evan Fried wrote the following reflection about the awesome meetup:

A 50 foot long bus enters Michigan State University’s sprawling campus on a crisp Friday night in November. Trailing not far behind are caravans of student-packed cars from universities across the Midwest.

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The Serendipitibus. John Wetzel, a studio founder from Notre Dame designed and rode this epic creation to Midwest Meetup.

A rampant exchange of texts, tweets, and Facebook messages are sent between the out-of-state-guests and MSU-student-hosts. Some students are reuniting after years, others excitedly meeting for the first time.

6 schools, 65 students, and over 30 different majors from freshmen to alumni unite to continue the tradition of sustaining the vibrant Design for America network of the Midwest.

As our network grew it became more necessary to sustain the relationships and support within the DFAmily. In November 2014, Northwestern invited studios from across the Midwest to their campus for a weekend of creative collaboration and connection.

One year later, we at Michigan State University decided to continue the tradition of the Midwest Meetup. We believe Meetups are the key to nurturing and strengthening DFA members and teams, ultimately resulting in the innovation of projects that will transform our communities. We hope that in documenting the process and execution of Midwest Meetup 2015, we will inspire and sustain this tradition across the nation.

Our 5 Gains

from a social impact & innovation weekend for 6 schools

  1. Empowered 65 Designers Nationally

In our own studio alone, with over half of our members in their very first semester at DFA, we got to see fresh spark for creating impact turn to a flame.


  1. Equipped Leaders Entering the Workforce this year

“After doing so many DFA things, you’d think I’d get tired of these events — but this one was different. I think we all really learned a lot and had a blast doing it. It really helped put things into perspective for me. I’m always inspired by these people and believe it or not, I had a lot of realizations at MWM that are helping me decide what I want to do with my life.” — Ryan Johnson, President at DFA UIUC


  1. Strengthened 6 Individual Studios

Opportunity to troubleshoot with our National Fellows, insight from other schools, time to personally reflect as a studio— something the rush of the school year doesn’t always provide — gave studios the chance to grow.

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  1. Increased Connection Nationally

An on-going group message, the development of an interactive DFA map with travel locations around the world, studio leads across campuses collaborating daily — to name just a few examples


  1. Inspired Meetups Across the Country

…or so we hope. To our fellow DFA schools across the nation — we provided you 10 core steps to planning and executing a true DFAmily event. It’s time to push our studios, our projects, and ourselves to the next level of creating impact, what’s stopping you from taking initiative?

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With All Our Love,
Design for America at Michigan State University

Originally posted December 1, 2015 by Evan Fried for DFA MSU Medium Channel. Read the full article to learn how they planned this amazing weekend!