Interior Design Professor Karen Clarke encouraged Chinese students to follow a sustainable path for career and life through design, technology, service, and lifestyle during a recent visit to China.

She was invited to speak on “Environmentally Responsible Design” to graduate and undergraduate students from Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication (BIGC), a leading institution for media communications and print design, and Polus International College, which specializes in traditional arts and design.

China’s growing population, rising middle class, and economic growth are accompanied by rising pollution, health and safety concerns, and environmental degradation, so students there are acutely aware of the need for environmentally responsible design, according to Clarke, an educator committed to teaching about sustainable design principles. She is director of the Master of Arts in Interior Architecture program at Suffolk’s New England School of Art & Design and a LEED-certified designer. Clarke sees Chinese students as a major force in the move to protect their environment.

Some of the students were unfamiliar with LEED or China Three Star building certification, so Clarke showed them examples of such projects in their own cities; projects that Suffolk graduate students have completed on stewardship, energy, and recycling; and projects from Suffolk’s Environmental Graphic Design class.

The Chinese students asked for advice on a range of issues, from planned obsolescence and its effects on the environment to how clients can be convinced to accept sustainable design. Clarke told them to use their creativity, education and knowledge of China’s rich cultural heritage to impact change and think more sustainably.