Pay attention to the yellow

Look at the picture to the right. Pay attention to the yellow. The yellow bars in this picture and in other photos now running on the JMU home page make up the frame of a student project in JMU’s Alternative Fuel Vehicle Lab. The students in the photo are hard at work on the Baja vehicle, which represents the beginning of a change in the way we drive and the way we think about driving.

The yellow bars also represent how JMU students often learn.

According to  Greg Stewart, sculptor and JMU professor of art, “the frame of the vehicle was fabricated in the sculpture studio by students who learned to fabricate in the sculpture program. The program in the School of Art, Design and Art History is sometimes used by students as a place to fabricate objects for other programs on campus. The Baja vehicle is just one example.”

What makes the yellow bars so symbolic of JMU as a whole is that the traditional silos for which academia is infamous are regularly smashed at JMU. It is a common occurrence across campus for disciplines that are traditionally polar opposites to converge and create something greater than the sum of the parts.

Stewart adds: “Other programs that have worked with us in the past include Industrial Design, Graphic Design, Interior Design, Photography, and the Institute for Visual Studies, to name a few.”

In his book A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink explores the new world emerging where design will be a driving force for business and industry. Traditionally, the engineers and scientists have been the leaders. But we are in a new world where the design of a project, the artistic eye which impacts the acceptance and the functionality of a product, is increasingly important in the real world.

This kind of collaboration requires nurturing. At JMU there is an extraordinary culture of collaboration that influences almost everything we do. It is that culture which allows and encourages the kind of integrated work that programs like Integrated Science and Technology are known for and which allows sculpture students and science student to merge their talents and interests.

“These collaborative projects are always the most difficult and challenging for students and professors alike, but are also, without question, the most interesting projects. Students readily comment on how valuable these opportunities are to their experience here at JMU,” Stewart says.

In business, industry, commerce, government, medicine, the arts, collaborative and integrated procress is required every day. So, when you see the yellow bars, be reminded of yet one more way that JMU prepares students for the rigors of the real world.

And if you missed the slides on the homepage, you can still get a glimpse of the students’ design by going to the full story here:

One more note: In just a few days, voting will close for Entrepreneur magazine’s annual entrpreneurship contest. JMU alum, Latane Meade (’01) is one of five finalists in the “emerging entrepreneurs” category. Make sure you visit the site and cast your vote for Latane!  Here’s the link:


About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

One Response to Pay attention to the yellow

  1. Shell Hite says:

    You rock, Martha. Beeeeyoooooteeefully written!


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