Like many students, Roberto Fayad pursued the online graduate certificate in sustainability to launch his professional career and because of his passion for the principles of sustainability.
But unlike many others, he accomplished this while working on his bachelor’s in architecture.
Completing his certificate in 2020 earned him the proud distinction of being the first official alumnus of a program based on examining how current world needs can be met without compromising the resources needed by future populations.
Says Systematic Balance is Key
Roberto says it’s all about considering the interaction of economic, social, and environmental factors to achieve a systematic balance.
“With this certification, I am better equipped for my field,” says Roberto, who is now based in Chicago. “I hope firms that want to progress their architecture/design towards the future can see how sustainability is now a very important consideration.”
The 12-credit graduate certificate offers three focus areas, including environmental, social, and economic sustainability.
He Sees Return of Nature to Cities
“I strive to learn the true balance of nature and how an optimal functioning future could work, in terms of design overall,” says Roberto, who followed the environmental focus area. “I like to think of the bigger picture. I have a new and growing passion for urban design and sustainable cities, and I see the return of nature into the city in creating a new urban scape.”
For his bachelor’s thesis, entitled The Self-Sustaining City, he designed a mixed-use high-rise in the Lincoln Yards development in Chicago, Illinois. The thesis “explored the design of self-sufficient eco-blocks as an approach for cities to reduce the energy and resource footprint with the urban landscape.”
“Future is in Adaptable Designs”
“As our future depends on the existence of this planet, we designers and architects must strive to make our designs more adaptable and caring towards our planet, the people, and its economy,” says Roberto. “I firmly believe that the future of my field is in producing more mixed-use options, especially in an urban environment.”
He believes the program gave him “a greater knowledge and appreciation of how our world works and how there seems to be a balance that we must seek in terms of a sustainable future.”
Roberto particularly appreciated courses in ecological systems, material resources and waste, food systems, and energy resources.
Sustainability Courses Run for Five Weeks
Unlike many courses, graduate certificate courses in sustainability run for five weeks and provide one credit per course.
“Although the classes were only one credit, the work load was close to a normal three-credit elective course one would take on campus,” says Roberto, who finished the certificate in just three semesters.
“These courses have helped open my eyes to precedents in each field, their progression towards reducing waste and becoming more renewable to benefit the natural systems of this planet,” he says.
Roberto admits to being a dreamer.
He Imagines the Impossible
“My imagination always loves to wander, to imagine the ‘impossible.’ I look up to many famous designers/architects across the globe and hope that one day, I can be amongst the list of great designers in this world,” he says.
Not that he’s seeking a lifestyle of power and riches.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without my faith in God, my mentors, and my family and friends,” he says. “I hope that one day, I can look back and say that a program like this is what started it all and how it has not only made an impact on my own life, but the life of others as well as the planet.”