A Better World by Design is planned and run by a committee of students from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. We work hard to bring the excitement and exploration of academia to the hands on, innovative world of design.


A Better World by Design was founded in 2008 by Brown University’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), and continues to be a collaboration among EWB, Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and communities in Providence.


Here are our sponsors for the 2013 Conference.

Hall of Fame

Inductees into the Hall of Fame uphold A Better World by Design’s ideals of leveraging the power of creative thinking to create a better tomorrow. We are pleased to announce the 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees.


For media enquiries, email us at Media Advisory »

Contact Us

Whether you want to share a Better World story or give us some feedback, we'd love to hear from you! Simply reach us at the following addresses.

Paulina Tarrant

Challenges and Finance Coordinator


Brown University, 2016

Environmental Studies and Visual Arts

Email Paulina Tarrant

Omar Nema

Operations Coordinator


Brown University, 2015

Biomedical Engineering

Email Omar Nema

Kevin Cadena

Branding Coordinator


RISD, 2016

Graphic Design

Email Kevin Cadena

Katherine James

Food and Sustainability Coordinator


Brown University, 2015

Creative Writing

Email Katherine James

Sage Green

Challenges and Finance Coordinator

2014, 2013 Finance Coordinator

Brown University, 2015

Urban Studies

Email Sage Green

Rachel Haberstroh

Public Relations


Brown University, 2015

Visual Arts and Political Science

Email Rachel Haberstroh

Prithika Mohan

Participant Experience and Volunteers Coordinator


RISD, 2015

Industrial Design

Email Prithika Mohan

Cecilia Bodin

Web Coordinator


Brown University, 2016

Economics & Visual Arts

Email Cecilia Bodin

Tenzin Lama

Challenges and Finance Coordinator


Brown University, 2016

Mechanical Engineering & English

Email Tenzin Lama

Emma Funk

Web Coordinator


Brown University, 2016

Computer Science & History

Email Emma Funk

John Filmanowicz

Public Relations


Brown University, 2017

Mechanical Engineering

Email John Filmanowicz

Pierie Korostoff


2014, 2013 Social Events Coordinator

Brown-RISD Dual Degree, 2016

Textiles & Urban Studies

Email Pierie Korostoff

Cole Moore

Public Relations


Brown University, 2017

Environmental Studies and Modern Culture and Media

Email Cole Moore

Anna Zeidman



Brown University, 2015


Email Anna Zeidman

Paul Bird



RISD, 2015

Industrial Design

Email Paul Bird

Jordan Beard

Public Relations


Brown University, 2015

Latin American Studies & Modern Culture and Media

Email Jordan Beard

Habiba Sugich



RISD, 2015

Industrial Design

Email Habiba Sugich

Andres Chang

Social Events Coordinator


Brown University, 2017

Physics and Visual Arts

Email Andres Chang

Anna Plumlee


2014, 2012-2013 Participant Experience Coordinator

Brown University, 2015

Political Science

Email Anna Plumlee

Mike Eng


2008 - 2012

RISD, 2009

Industrial Design

Sharon Langevin


2008 - Present

Brown University, 2009, Grad 2011

Electrical Engineering; International Development

Steve Daniels


2008 - Present

Brown University, 2010

Technology for Emerging Markets

Tino Chow


2008 - Present

RISD, 2009

Graphic Design

Towards a Better World

Over the last five years, A Better World by Design has grown into a truly multi-disciplinary community of passionate students, professionals, and academics. For the three days of the conference, we celebrated the progress that our community has made toward a better world. In honor of this progress and the individuals like you who have made it happen, we have initiated the Better World Hall of Fame.

Anil Gupta


Founder of the Honey Bee Network

Looking to the poor of India, business professor Anil Gupta saw innovations and talent that were not being supported. In response, he started the Honey Bee Network and began searching the country with colleagues, often on foot, finding a myriad of inventions developed out of necessity. These discoveries are documented and often shared with the global community in order to facilitate the spread of ideas and innovation. Since 1988, the network’s database of original inventions has grown to over 12,000, and its newsletter is now published in 8 languages and distributed to 75 countries. Gupta also worked with the government of India to establish the National Innovation Foundation, which holds national competitions to encourage new inventors and helps sustain them through the National Micro Venture Innovation Fund. Through his efforts, Gupta has uncovered groundbreaking devices such as a pedal-operated washing machine, a micro-windmill battery charger, and a hoe powered by a bicycle.

John Fetterman



Mayor of Braddock, PA

John Fetterman graduated from Harvard University in 1999 with a Master of Public Policy degree. He moved to Braddock in 2001 to work for AmeriCorps, helping local youth who had left school earn their GED. After living in Braddock for four years, attracted by what he called the town’s “malignant beauty”, Fetterman ran for mayor in 2005. Following his election, Fetterman initiated youth and art programs, created a community center, and has initiated development of the town’s condemned buildings and struggling economy. Fetterman has attracted many young artists to the town through cheap rent and starting various art exhibitions. The town’s “renaissance” has attracted individuals from cities such as Chicago and Portland, Oregon, drawn by the potential for development and growth. Other programs he has spearheaded include a two-acre organic urban farm, run by teenagers of the Braddock Youth Project. Fetterman has also been involved in the Environmental Defense Fund’s advocacy for carbon caps and green technology and believes that development of green energy industries can revitalize the region’s economy.

Josh Nesbit and Isaac Holeman



Founders of Medic Mobile

While students at Stanford and Lewis and Clark, Josh Nesbit and Isaac Holeman began using the free software application FrontlineSMS to coordinate the logistics of healthcare workers at St Gabriel’s Hospital in Malawi where they were working. Inspired by the application and the difficulties patients had to go through to see a medic, Josh and Isaac founded MedicMobile. MedicMobile works with healthcare partners to leverage technology to connect patients to medical professionals and improve the services they provide. The company uses both software they have developed as well as open source software developed by other organizations. One tool they have created allows health care workers to explain patients’ symptom and transmit medical records using simple text messages. They hope to partner with a group from UCLA to offer a $15 diagnostic tool that uses a cellphone’s light and camera to remotely analyze a blood sample for malaria and tuberculosis.

Mert Isiri, Yuri Malina, and Hannah Chung



Founders of Design for America

In 2008, with the guidance of Northwestern University professor Liz Gerber, Mert Isiri, Yuri Malina, and Hannah Chung founded Design for America, a student organization intended to activate students to apply the design process to solving social and environmental issues. Now several years later, the organization has spread to 14 colleges and universities across the country, increasing awareness of the impact of design for social innovation to students nationwide. In addition to continuing to mentor new leaders within the organization, Mert, Yuri, and Hannah are working on their own start-ups born from Design for America projects. Mert and Yuri are working on a solution to hospital-born infection while Hannah is working with Aaron Horowitz on making an interactive teaching tool for children with type 1 diabetes.

Veronika Scott



Founder of the Empowerment Plan

As a student at the College for Creative Studies, Veronika realized a true need in her community, Almost 1 in 42 people in Detroit are homeless and the temperatures can get incredibly low. Not everyone can get into homeless shelters at night and must stay out in the freezing cold. In order to address this problem, Veronika created a coat that transforms into a sleeping bag for warmth and comfort during the night. This school project turned into The Empowerment Plan. This continuing humanitarian project works to achieve two ends: providing pride, skills, and money to homeless women in Detroit and providing coats at no cost to the homeless population there. The women are taught to manufacture the coats and are paid for their labor, providing both an income source to start saving for a home and valuable professional skills that they can use to find employment. Through sponsorship the coats that are produced are distributed for free to the homeless locally and globally.

Mailing Address

A Better World by Design

69 Brown St

Providence, RI 02912

Box 5016


For general enquiries:

For partnership enquiries:

For media enquiries:



A Better World by Design was founded in 2008 by Brown University’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), and continues to be a collaboration among EWB, Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and communities in Providence.

About Us


Each year, Better World by Design brings a global community of innovators to Providence, Rhode Island to reach across disciplines and unite under a common goal: building a better world. Presenters share engaging stories, workshops teach creative skills, and discussions re-frame perspectives. Better World is an immersive experience that deepens our understanding of the power of design, technology, and enterprise to engage our communities and sustain our environment.


Better World by Design was started in 2008 by Steve Daniels and Sharon Langevin of Brown University Engineers Without Borders and Mike Eng and Tino Chow from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). The annual conference is completely student-organized and attracts thousands from all corners of the world. We have developed a collaborative platform to encourage the free sharing of ideas across disciplines and professional levels. Engineers, designers, entrepreneurs, policy makers, academics, and students form lasting connections that lead to real-world change.


We have built a worldwide network of social innovators because we believe in thinking globally and acting locally. As we build our global presence, we continue to strengthen our relationships to create impact in our immediate communities. Better World has worked with the local Providence community since the beginning. Advisors such as Andy Cutler from Cutler and Company have broadened our reach, mentored student organizers, and introduced us to opportunities for partnership. We are also involved with companies and organizations like AS220, Mercury Print and Mail, The Steel Yard, Ximedica and the Providence city government.


By collaborating with thought-leading students, academics, and professionals, Better World by Design continues to foster mutually enriching exchange and be a strong presence in the fields of sustainable and socially-conscious design.

Cutler and Company


Cutler & Company is a communications design firm specializing in message development, content development, conference/event production, branding, social media and media relations. In 2013, Cutler & Company also launched Smaller Cities Unite!, a venture that aims to connect creative talent, entrepreneurs, students, government and the academic community between cities with populations under 1.5 million.


Smaller Cities Unite! was founded on the premise of cultivating the question of What if….What if smaller cities (and their residents) explored interesting and impactful ways in which they could collaborate; thus, creating new paradigms for problem solving, product and policy development, as well as engaging its citizenry (particularly its student populations)? In other words, Smaller Cities Unite! is a platform that wishes to explore a new form of citizen diplomacy—one that is based on trust, respect and action; proving to the world that smaller cities can align quickly, open their networks easily, and create new kinds of relationships leading to unique forms of engagement fast!


Smaller cities understand and work within the confines of their size each and every day. Size matters, and smaller cities have the power to enlist professional (and personal) networks in order to bolster ideation and ultimately create meaningful change quicker than their larger counterparts.

Brown Undergraduate Finance Board


The Undergraduate Finance Board serves as a source of funding and financial advisory to Category III student groups on campus. UFB draws from the student activities fees to budget among over one hundred-twenty Category III groups and fifty Category II groups. UFB is a 12-member board of Brown students, with 8 members, the Chair, and the Vice Chair elected by campus-wide direct election to one-year terms at the end of spring semester. Our purpose is to support financially, and to the greatest extent possible given limited resources, every eligible student group in order for it to meet its goals based on its needs.



3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. We never stop inventing. With $30 billion in sales, 3M employs about 88,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit or follow on Twitter @3Minnovation

The Social Innovation Initiative at Brown University

A key program of the Swearer Center for Public Service, the Social Innovation Initiative supports students with innovative ideas for social change through cross-disciplinary courses, student-led initiatives, support for new ventures, and connections to jobs, internships, and other opportunities to apply learning. The Social Innovation Fellowship, now in its fifth year, provides 15-20 students with up to $4,000 to grow a social venture over the summer, supported by a year of intensive skills training, complementary coursework, and a community of social entrepreneurs on campus offering mentorship and critique.

Green Dot

Green Dot Holdings LLC is a bioscience social enterprise headquartered in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas. The company serves the plastics industry and style conscious consumers with a full line of biobased and compostable materials sold under the Terratek® brand name. They believe that sustainable products start with good design, and they’re eager to introduce designers to the possibilities offered by these new innovative materials. Green Dot aspires to improve the environment in which we live by building a more sustainable world with renewable biobased resins and promoting their use through invention, creation and research.


Autodesk–a world leader in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software–empowers people to imagine, design, and create a better world. The company’s top four software suites are now available for free to nonprofits throughout North America. Learn more at

Bixby International

Bixby International is a custom thermoplastic sheet extruder and laminator located in the historic seaport city of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Founded more than 135 years ago in Haverhill, Massachusetts as a footwear manufacturer, Bixby has a long, rich history. Bixby prides itself on being a company that cares about its people and the surrounding community. One of Bixby’s core values is our strong Corporate Social Responsibility. It also recognizes that excellence is a journey, not a destination. It is ISO 9001:2008 certified. This is not just a certification for Bixby, but a dynamic program that it uses everyday to improve its quality and customer service. In addition, Bixby has a very successful Continuous Improvement program that relies on the principles of Lean Manufacturing (Kaizen, 5S, Kanban, Visual Work Place, etc.).

Brown University School of Engineering

Brown University’s School of Engineering educates future leaders in the fundamentals of engineering in an environment of world-class research. It stresses an interdisciplinary approach and a broad understanding of underlying global issues. Collaborations across the University campus and beyond strengthen our development of technological advances that address challenges of vital importance to us all. This year, the School of Engineering is partnering with A Better World by Design to create new bridges of knowledge and experience between engineering and design. The two organizations will collaborate throughout the year to integrate the two discipline areas through a variety of new initiatives such as the MakerSpace.

RISD Careers

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has earned an international reputation as the leading college of art and design in the United States. Recently ranked #1 in Business Insider’s survey of The World’s 25 Best Design Schools, approximately 2,400 students from around the world study at RISD, pursuing full-time bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in a choice of 19 studio majors. RISD is known for its phenomenal faculty of artists and designers, the breadth of its specialized facilities and its hands-on, studio-based approach to learning – one in which critical thinking informs making works by hand. Through the accomplishments of its 26,000 alumni, the college champions the vital role artists and designers play in satisfying the global demand for innovation.  For more information, visit or

Sappi Fine Paper North America

Sappi Fine Paper North America is the preeminent producer of coated fine paper in North America. In addition to being responsible for many industry firsts, Sappi strongly values sustainability, responsible production and supporting social good initiatives. Sappi continues to invest in projects to reduce solid waste, wastewater and air emissions, and improve water and energy utilization. Since 1999, Sappi’s Ideas that Matter program has awarded over $12 million in grants to designers to support their work for nonprofit programs and organizations.  Beyond partnering with A Better World by Design 2013, Sappi is represented on the Sustainable Design panel by its Director of Sustainability and Technical Marketing, Laura Thompson, Ph. D.


gravitytank is an innovation consultancy. We help clients grow their businesses, define breakthrough products and services, enter new markets and strengthen their positions. Clients come to us to do things like clarify customers’ needs, reinvigorate a brand, or disrupt an industry. We ask productive questions and pursue meaningful answers—uncovering what people truly need and want. We have a bias for action—making ideas tangible to learn from them. And, we build the conviction necessary to sustain new thinking.

Pacific Shaving Company


At Pacific Shaving Company, we believe that sustainable business practices and environmentally responsible manufacturing are just as important as the products we make. Founded in 2002, our goal was clear: radically improve the shaving experience. The result is a line of safe, natural, eco-friendly shaving essentials that break through the barriers that give shaving a bad name. Manufactured in the USA, our concentrated formulas mean fewer raw materials, less waste, and fewer carbon emissions throughout the supply chain. We also plant a tree for every purchase, offsetting the minimal packaging materials we do use.



Runa is a Brooklyn-based social enterprise that sells beverages made from guayusa, an Amazonian superleaf. Runa is proud to work with over 2,000 indigenous farming families in Ecuador to make organic, Fair Trade, non-GMO drinks that balance as much caffeine as coffee with twice the antioxidants of green tea. This combination provides you with a focused, sustained, and clean energy to power you through your day. Guayusa grows in biodiverse forest gardens that stimulate environmentally sustainable economic development. Runa’s “Clean Energy” is our promise that every aspect of your drink is enlivening, energizing, healthy, socially conscious, and muy delicioso.

Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Have you been thinking about changing your designs, changing your perspective, and changing our world? The Minneapolis College of Art and Design’s newly launched, two-year Master of Arts in Sustainable Design program may be a good fit for you. MCAD’s MA is offered 100% online and caters to busy working professionals so that you may work, live, and learn from where ever you are located in the world. Students gain theory, practice, and leadership skills and real-world experience to solve humanity’s most pressing challenges through a groundbreaking program that is underpinned by biomimicry, systems thinking, life cycle analysis, and collaborative problem solving. Contact us at or visit to learn more.


Established in 1935, Perkins+Will is a global interdisciplinary design firm founded on the belief that design has the power to transform lives and enhance society. Social responsibility is fundamental to the firm’s approach, and every year Perkins+Will donates one percent of its services to non-profit organizations. In addition, its pioneering tools, expansive green building portfolio, nearly 1,000 LEED Accredited Professionals, and commitment to the 2030 Challenge all make Perkins+Will one of the industry’s preeminent sustainable design firms. As a first-time sponsor of A Better World be Design, Perkins+Will is thrilled to be joining this growing community of socially-conscious innovators.


In everything we do at Mohawk, we’re committed to being part of the solutions. Designers and printers have always turned to Mohawk when they want to make beautiful print. Social responsibility is woven into the fabric of our culture. Today, the fourth generation of the O’Connor family is looking ahead to the future offering a diverse palette of highly regarded recycled, carbon neutral, FSC papers manufactured with a net zero climate impact. We accept our responsibility to create a sustainable business, and commit ourselves to a leadership role in reducing the environmental impact of our business practices. Mohawk has always celebrated passionate people in this industry who use print to make a difference, to market a business, for a cause, or simply to make something lasting and beautiful.