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Students learn outside of the box at SU's COLAB

There's a Mad Scientist in the house, well actually The Warehouse. That's Syracuse University's Warehouse in Armory Square. In the building that was Dunk and Bright's warehouse on the corner of Fayette and West Streets. This scientist's lab is located on the fourth floor, room 401. Really he is a mad scientist as it says so on his business card. Not to be confused with evil genius, this mad scientist, Chris McCray, has become obsessively involved with his thinking so that he has begun to develop eccentricities, generating "out of the box thinking" as his norm.

McCray is the man who is directing SU's COLAB.

COLAB was formerly SU's Design Center, which McCray deemed too pedestrian on one hand, and then, intimidating on the other.

Why COLAB?

It's a think tank, a laboratory of sorts.

"Co" meaning collaborate, cooperative, coexist, conception, connection, conceptualize, communication, et al

"Lab" meaning laboratory, studio, salon, workroom - a place of intense study, trial and discovery.

This type of design studio intensive is about coordinating the brain trust to be used in the public sector including but not limited to the market place. It is about finding solutions using the design process or designer thinking.

"COLAB is a response to industry demands for graduates who can work effectively on diverse, collaborative teams," said Michael McAllister, director of design and innovation. "Given the array of top-caliber schools and colleges at SU, we are beautifully poised to offer interdisciplinary education to support this need. Intersecting divergent viewpoints in a collaborative environment often leads to fresh and unexpected solutions."

COLAB is not a new concept McCray said, it has been used in Europe successfully for decades, and has roots in several fine universities around the states including Stanford's D school.

"Many universities are involved in massaging existing programs or creating new entities, such as what we are doing with COLAB," he said. "What makes COLAB so exciting is the diverse selection of world-renowned schools and colleges here at SU. We have the opportunity to develop a think tank of truly diverse people."

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