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The Project

Interior Materials and Applications: A Hands-On Project with First Presbyterian Church

Experiential learning is the philosophical term behind the idea of immersing oneself in a subject in order to learn. Aristotle wrote, "for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them". Being hands-on is especially important in the classroom because it allows students to engage in kinesthetic learning. 'Doing' helps them to gain a better understanding of the material. It allows students to experiment with trial and error, learn from their mistakes, and understand the potential gaps between theory and practice. It also provides educators with a unique opportunity to enrich the minds of their students in new and engaging ways. 

This project seeks to afford freshman design students the hands-on training, knowledge, skills and competencies needed in the workplace as they pursue their degree.  In the spring 2022 approximately 50 freshman students from the IDES 115 Interior Materials and Applications, Sections 1 and 2 (a required course in the Interior Design major), taught by PI Alfaro and Co-PI Son, will align with a community partner, First Presbyterian Church of Muncie, to specify appropriate materials for a future youth room in their church, learn from qualified consultant’s appropriate application techniques, and then apply what they learn to actually refinish the space for the community partner.

Students, using hands-on techniques, will gain an understanding of current materials and construction practices, and explore innovation in material application with guidance from guest consultants. The project addresses the production of specifications and schedules, cost analysis, project management, and applicable building codes.


PI Dr. Sarah Alfaro

PI Dr. Jake Sone

Consultant Brian Scherrer

IDES115 Interior Design Materials and Applications Class

The Project