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USU’s outdoor product design students invited to Outdoor Retailer to make chalk bags

USU’s outdoor product design students invited to Outdoor Retailer to make chalk bags

(Utah State University Outdoor Product Design and Development)

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DENVER — Utah State University’s Outdoor Product Design and Development students were invited to the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market this year to make chalk bags, on the spot, out of used textiles.

Their textile repurposing station provided students with an opportunity to demonstrate their gear production skills while helping them connect to businesses that can donate used textiles to the school, according to program coordinator Chase Anderson. Convention attendees were able to come to their booth and choose what materials they wanted for their chalk bags, and the Utah State students made them on the spot.

The Outdoor Product Design and Development program began in the fall of 2015 and yielded its first graduating class of 30 students this past May, according to Anderson. It’s a first-of-its-kind undergraduate program focused on the development and design of outdoor products.

“Anyone who wants to design sports and outdoor products, — whether apparel, gear or even footwear … This is the right program for that kind of student,” Anderson told “Over the four years, the students learn how to take ideas from their head and design on paper, and then digitally, whether through illustrator or computer-aided design. And then they’ll learn how to take those ideas to paper and use their hands and actually create physical prototypes in the sewing lab or machine shop or some of our other studio spaces."

In the final two years of the program, after the students have submitted a portfolio and are formally accepted into the program, Anderson said they are able to specialize in apparel design, gear or equipment.

Students from the program often go into design, technical development, product line management, supply chain management and more, according to the program’s website. Throughout their four years of school, they have access to six labs on campus to help them turn their ideas into reality.

The program is still new, but Anderson is excited to see that even Outdoor Retailer has recognized what the program could do for students looking to enter the outdoor retail industry.

“I’m excited for our students,” Anderson said. “This is a cool opportunity for them to shine and showcase their abilities.”

Learn more about the program and see USU's course catalog here.

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Cara MacDonald enjoys both engaging in outdoor recreation and writing about it. Born and raised in Utah, Cara enjoys skiing, rock climbing, hiking and camping. She is passionate about both learning about and experiencing the outdoors, and helping others to learn about and explore nature. She primarily writes Outdoors articles centering around wildlife and nature, highlighting adventure opportunities, and sharing tips and tricks for outdoor recreation.


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