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Our Commitment

As a land grant university, we are committed to a foundational principle of inclusive excellence recognizing that our institutional success depends on how well we welcome, value, and affirm all members of the CSU community. Only through the inclusion of the rich diversity of students, staff, faculty, administrators, and alumni can we truly be excellent in our pursuits.

As a department we work with multiple groups on campus and within the community to enhance our understanding and implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.

Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee meets monthly to learn from DEI leaders and initiatives across the university and implement activities and action items for the Department of Design and Merchandising.

Black Lives Matter Mural


This is a sampling of Design and Merchandising courses with DEIJ content.

AM 475 Product Development Capstone

Fourth-year students studying product development in the apparel and merchandising major research a specific population or target market in need of adaptable clothing including those with prosthetic limbs, arthritis, relying on a wheelchair for mobility, diabetes in need of injection access, visual impairments, and others. Through research, students create adaptive design solutions to make clothing more accessible.

Kristen Morris, Associate Professor in Apparel and Merchandising

a man using a wheelchair moves down a glossy runway showcasing a blue button up top designed for him

INTD 310 Third Year Studio

“Studio III students participated in a national-level competition by the Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) to create a refugee environment. Students had the opportunity to work on small teams and chose a place on the globe and research the reasons why a particular group of people are being forced to migrate to new regions. They did research on the cultural crisis and crafted personal narratives for the inhabitants of their dwelling. They were challenged to address both the functional and emotional dimensions of the design challenge. Students created graphic posters that contain their visuals and written statements. ”

Laura Cole, Associate Professor in Interior Architecture and Design

A student presents their project in a StudioIII course with a floor plan on the wall beside them.

AM 450 Social Psychology of Clothing

“In Social Psychology of Clothing, students conduct research projects using qualitative methods to explore why people dress the way they do, how they construct their personal appearances, and what they wish to communicate through appearances. Student topics are inclusive of the lived realities of diverse individuals and have explored issues such as the ways that members of the queer community communicate gender and sexual identity through dress, the meanings of waist beads among US-based (African) makers and wearers, body image among college-aged men, and the beauty- and aging-related attitudes and behaviors of middle-aging women.”

Jennifer Ogle, Professor in Apparel and Merchandising

Students presenting their research for the AM450 course

INTD 110 All Gender Restroom Case Study + Policy

Examining Restroom Design as a traditional space of exclusion in the built environment 

In INTD 110, students examine the restroom through several lenses to understand the impact of exclusion on the build environment. Guest speakers from CSU Facilities Management Team, and the University Operations Diversity Committee present the case study about the policy for updating restrooms on campus to be all-gender and the research that went into this design decision becoming a policy decision for new construction on campus. In addition, the Inclusive Fort Collins guest speaker presented an initiative to help local businesses update their signage for all-gender restrooms. Students also engage with industry perspectives on restroom design related to advocacy for building and plumbing codes and policy changes to impact design. 

Leah Scolere, Assistant Professor, Interior Architecture and Design 

students and contributors stand around a board talking about many ideas written on many posted sticky notes

Introduction and Application of Design Justice Frameworks

Drawing on the concept of Design Justice by Sasha Costanza-Chock, students analyze design projects in the context of design justice principles which seek to rethink design processes by centering more voices that have been traditionally marginalized in the design process. Students apply a design justice framework to their projects as an analytical tool to strategically consider who benefits from a design, who is involved in the design, and who might be harmed by the design. Students are introduced to a co-design process that focuses on designing with instead of designing for to activate community resources and knowledge toward design solutions. 

Leah Scolere, Assistant Professor, Interior Architecture and Design

students discuss ideas on an idea board to the left, while the right shows a venn diagram with the sections: Who Was involved in the process, who was harmed, andwho benefitted?


Our outreach programs promote the diversity of backgrounds represented in the apparel and interior architecture and design industries. Service learning is an important aspect of our community engagement.


Our faculty are examining a wide array of social justice issues in their research and scholarship.


Our students and student-led organizations prioritize social justice in their projects and events.

EBECC X NOMA Panel: Equity in the Built Environment

CSU IIDA (International Interior Design Association)’s student chapter organized an event featuring Equity in the Built Environment: Colorado Coalition (EBECC) and the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). Panelists discussed diversity, equity, and inclusion in the design and architecture industry.

A panel of 4 people discuss DEIJ efforts progressing in the Architecture industry

Hear Me Project X DFA: Parkinson's Disease

Design for America (DFA) is a co-curricular group at CSU composed of students and led by faculty mentor Leah Scolere. Their current project partners with Mike Hassel founder of Hear Me technologies to prototype and test voice amplification devices for those with Parkinson’s Disease. The co-design workshops are facilitated by DFA student members Karime Marrufo, Amanda Vong, and Stephany Ayala, all Interior Architecture and Design students.

Students brainstorm a hearing device at the Design for America meeting.

Get Involved

We value and encourage participation by students of diverse backgrounds in our school activities. Check out these opportunities for ways you can get involved.

  • 24% First-Generation Students
  • 26% Racially Minoritized Students
  • 22% Pell Grant Eligible Students

Diversity News