Immigrant & Refugee Volunteers

January '18 - May '18

In this five-member, semester-long project, we sought to understand the lives of those who assist immigrants and refugees, and built a product proposal based on our stakeholder engagements to become better designers through working with, not for, our stakeholders.


After many sticky notes, persona-building sessions, and insight-sharing, we narrowed into our final proposal: a Helper Manifesto, and a physical building space for our stakeholders to conduct their work.

Design Phases


In this course, we worked through three phases of a user design process. The first Explore phase of initial outreach & understanding took our team to volunteer events, legal service firms, and ESL programs in the greater Boston area. In the second Conceptualize phase, we pitched dozens of broad proposals to help our stakeholders. The third Develop phase decided and furthered our best ideas into detailed proposals that captured a deep understanding of the lives volunteers and assistants lead.

Our Proposal

At the close of our third phase, our team developed a Helper Manifesto, and a space for volunteers/assistants to conduct their work. We contended with this direction significantly throughout our second design phase, and briefly disposed of the idea, but it ultimately resurfaced as our clear winner.

The renderings on the building poster (left) are from a CAD model I designed on Revit, and each space is supplemented by information gathered from stakeholder interactions.

The Helper Manifesto we wrote as a team can be found here: