PepsiCo and Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design have announced a three-year partnership aimed at developing Black designers and increasing representation in the design industry. As the first and only Historically Black College or University (HBCU) dedicated to design, Pensole Lewis College will benefit from PepsiCo’s support and program, which includes mentorships from designers with the PepsiCo Design & Innovation team, apprenticeships, and resources for aspiring Black designers.

As part of the partnership, students from PepsiCo’s design program were tasked with creating a student lounge on campus and presenting their designs to a panel of judges. The winning design, created by Pensole Lewis students Rodney Banks and Angel Buckens, features the Detroit skyline and a Pepsi globe for seating to serve as a space for creativity and empowerment. The judges who selected the winning design included PepsiCo SVP and Chief Design Officer Mauro Porcini, Pensole Lewis Founder Dr. D’Wayne Edwards, and MillerKnoll SVP of Global Real Estate, Architecture and Development Matthew Stares, with Radio Personality Angela Yee as the host.

PepsiCo will bring the winning design to life this summer as the Pepsi Stronger Together Relax and Refresh Lounge, with NBA Star Russell Westbrook supporting the unveiling on campus. This partnership is part of PepsiCo’s continued commitment to HBCUs, including Historically Better: Powered by Pepsi Stronger Together and Doritos SOLID BLACK, a tour celebrating HBCU culture while also providing recruitment opportunities for Black talent.

Overall, this partnership is a significant step forward in increasing representation in the design industry and providing opportunities for Black designers to showcase their skills and creativity.

Pepsi Stronger Together Relax and Refresh Lounge winning design
Pepsi Stronger Together Relax and Refresh Lounge winning design

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