Our Top Five Feel-Good Stories

This spirit of doing good was in full effect at the Fashion Institute of Technology. From transforming kids battling cancer into superheroes to growing the city’s honeybee population, the FIT community pitched in and helped make the world a little brighter.

Without further ado, here are our top five feel-good stories of 2017.

Super Kids Become Superheroes

Working with the Today Show, students from FIT’s MFA in Fashion Design program helped kids battling cancer transform into superheroes. Faculty members created the background for the stunning group portrait, above. Watch this heartwarming story here and get a closer look at Aiden, Kevin, Chloe, and Mahlai’s costumes below.

Alumna Teaches Inmates about Art-World Jobs

Through a new program designed by Lydia Barry Kutko, Art Market MA ’09, inmates at Rikers Island can explore possible futures in the art world. While learning what it means to be a fine artist or an art handler, participants discover the therapeutic power of creativity. “There was much interest and enthusiasm from the men in the class, with a number saying we should do more programming like that,” said James Walsh, deputy commissioner for adult programming and community partnerships with the New York City Department of Correction.

Meet FIT’s Bees

More than 2,300 students call FIT home, but they weren’t the only ones living on campus. Last spring, FIT and the Honeybee Conservancy installed two large bee hives on a college green roof. Now approximately 50,000 bees are buzzing around campus, pulling off some remarkable feats. From producing more than 20 pounds of honey to boosting the city’s honeybee population, these bees have done a lot of good in a very short period of time.

A Bit of Comfort for the Homeless

Three days a week, the staff of St. Paul’s House feed the homeless population of Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen. While the space offered a welcome retreat from the streets, true comfort was hard to find in the dining room and bathroom–at least until FIT’s Interior Design students stepped in. Overhauling the space in just one week, the students laid a herringbone-pattern wood floor, applied soft teal paint, and introduced a new homeyness to the facility. “What I say to my students is that we have to see interior design as an engine of social change,” associate professor Carmita Sanchez-Fong told Fast Company. “How can we use our skills to begin to tilt the balance of inequality in our city? How can we have a positive impact on people?”

The Spirit of the Holidays 

Learn more about this story on the School of Art and Design’s blog.

In early December, more than 100 students gathered to build and decorate gingerbread houses. As you’d expect, the participants focused on the details, from crafting doorways and roof shingles to frosting snowdrifts on these traditional holiday treats. Rather than taking their architectural pieces home, the students instead donated them to Partnership for the Homeless. The giving spirit was in full swing, as Melanie Reim, associate dean for Art and Design, said: “Seeing and hearing table after table of all of our FIT students, from all the schools, working, decorating, and laughing together, was the best present of the season for me.”

FIT students created gingerbread houses for the city's hungry.