Royal Society of Arts Student Design Awards highly commend GBDA students’ submission

Monday, June 21, 2021

A group of Global Business and Digital Arts students have received Highly Commended honours from the prestigious Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Student Design Awards for their project, Medley.

Medley equips LGBTQ+ youth with clear and practical safe-sex education and resources. It is an interactive website where students can access medically accurate and digestible information specific to the LGBTQ+ community. The most important component of the solution is providing affordable and accessible information and tools to those who live under unsupportive households or might find it difficult to purchase protection.

“We chose to address sex education and healthcare in the LGBTQ+ community after having a lengthy discussion about our own experiences in the provincial system. I think we can all say we know friends or family that identify as a part of this growing community and that's what really compelled us to start drawing out this issue and identifying opportunities where we felt we could make some sort of an impact or difference,” commented Gina Hsu, Medley.

Screenshots of prototype websiteThe prototype was thoughtfully developed by Hsu with design teammates Carrie Dam, Jessie Huang, Erica Sua, and Caitlyn Cassandra Yu. Their submission responded to the RSA brief sponsored by Philips, Redistributing Health, that asked participants to consider "How might we design systems that provide seamless and cost-effective access to quality health services for underserved communities?"

Through this project Medley hopes to raise awareness of the importance of inclusive sex education as one part of a larger system that needs to empower LGBTQ+ with life-saving knowledge and access to healthcare.

When building the platform, the team reached out to the community and potential users to ensure they were meeting their needs. “Seeing how excited and happy they were that we were creating a product that catered to their needs fueled our project," notes the team.

We would like to give a big thank you to those in the LGBTQ+ community who gave us insights on how to make Medley feasible and useful. Without it, Medley would not be nearly as impactful as it is now.

The Medley team joins other Stratford School student projects noted in the 2018 RSA Student Design Awards. Hungryr — a grocery delivery platform for long haul truck drivers providing access to healthy meal options — won the Best Business Case for their solution, and Schift — a smartwatch designed for shift workers, to assist with sleep adjustment between day and night shift rotation – received Highly Commended honours in the same category.

The RSA Student Design Awards is the world’s longest running student design competition that challenges students and recent graduates to tackle pressing social, environmental and economic issues through design thinking.

According to the RSA, winners are "demonstrating the potential of design to unravel complex problems, explore new possibilities and unlock new ways to meet the needs of people and our planet."

This article originally appeared on Waterloo News. It has been adapted for the Stratford School.