When people think of a chair, most think of something to sit on, something practical and functional. To Weber State University interior design students, chairs are for charity. The Charitable Chair event incorporates accreditation standards, design curriculum, and public service.
The Third Annual Charitable Chair Event took place April 10, 2014 at WSU’s Davis campus, 6-7 p.m. Restored chairs with historical significance were auctioned off, with proceeds divided between the Boys and Girls Club of Weber-Davis and WSU’s Interior Design program.
As part of the final project, students from five interior design courses restored antique chairs to their original state. These chairs were displayed March 17-18 in the WSU Davis campus ballrooms for public viewing prior to the main event in April. They were auctioned off to the highest bidders.
“Charitable Chair is a real design project that incorporates curriculum and service,” said Kristin Arnold, chair of WSU’s interior design program. “The project gives students the opportunity to realize the design process at work, utilize time-management skills and collaborate with other design professionals. She also added that the project helps students recognize a good piece of furniture and pay attention to detail; all while providing outreach to the Boys and Girls Club.
“It’s fun to work hands-on and see what it is going towards,” said Amy Peterson, a junior in the interior design program. “I have done it the past two years, and this year I get to be a mentor for other students. I get to help guide new students in the process to have a successful chair.”
For the first year of the event, the interior design students restored 15 chairs. This year, more than 30 chairs will be restored and auctioned. “This program not only gives us real-world interaction with those we will work with out in the field, but also the opportunity to give back to the community,” said sophomore Rachel Malan.
Last year, the event raised nearly $6,000 for the Boys and Girls Club and for multiple scholarships for interior design students. “It’s kind of an unusual approach to service,” Arnold said. “We have benefited from the exposure to the community, the connections to the design professionals . . . the program is an event that truly gets students engaged.”