Design for America Vanderbilt



Whether you’re a student, professor, or Nashvillian, we’d love to have you become a part of DFA Vanderbilt. If you’d like to join our roster, drop by one of our studio meetings, or give us some help and feedback, shoot us an email at We look forward to hearing from you!

Get involved  


As a Vanderbilt student, you can join one of our project teams. Teams pick a topic they’re passionate about—poverty, education, or sustainability, for example—and then work to design something that solves that problem. Our teams are interdisciplinary; we want you to contribute your unique skills whether your major is Engineering, English, Education, or something in between. Project teams generally run for a semester and require at least one meeting per week, but there are opportunities to get involved no matter how crazy your schedule is.

Besides working on our projects, we have events along the way to learn new skills, connect with the design community in Nashville, and eat free food. Stop by one of our studio meetings sometime—we’d love to have you join us. DFA is a great opportunity to learn useful design skills, meet new people, build stuff, and make a real impact in the world while you’re “just” a student. And, of course, DFA is a lot of fun!



We rely on the support of Vanderbilt faculty and staff for ideas, advice, and administrative help. Does your work involve huge societal problems that need creative solutions? Can you help us learn more about these challenges? Can you help us to become better designers and innovators? 

Community Members

As a member of the Nashville community, you care about many of the same issues we do—poverty, education, sustainability, or maybe something else. We want to tackle the huge problems that face our society, and we often need to venture off Vanderbilt’s campus to do so. We would love your help in identifying, learning about, and implementing solutions for these problems.

If your neighborhood, business, nonprofit, or other organization would like to meet a motivated group of students trying to tackle the same problems you’re trying to tackle, please get in touch with us. We’re always looking for help starting new projects.


Design Professionals

Vanderbilt doesn’t have large academic programs in design, so many of us are self-taught in the practice and learning as we go. We always can use guidance from people with experience. We’d appreciate advice from designers, engineers, artists, or anyone else who shares our passion and is willing to help us hone our skills. There are opportunities to get involved at whatever level you’d like. You can visit once or twice a semester to offer feedback at a design review, or you can mentor teams on a weekly basis.