The Outstanding Young Alumnus Award recognizes an outstanding Brother under the age of 30 who has exemplified the Ideals of Phi Kappa Theta in career success and service to the community. The award was established in 2013. 2016 Recipient: Taylor Loutsis (ASU, '15) - Project Minembwe 2015 Recipient: Paul Goodman (SDSU, '10) - Pura Vida Bracelet 2014 Recipient: Tom Moore (George Mason, '06) - ROCS
Live your passion.” Said Taylor Loutsis (ASU, ‘15), during his acceptance presentation at Quo Vadis for being the recipient to The Most Outstanding Young Alumnus Award of 2016.
Loutsis started his undergrad at Washington State University, where he pledged Phi Kappa Theta, Washington Alpha Delta Chapter, but it wasn’t until he transferred to the visual communication program at Arizona State University, when his discovery for purpose and passion was found. His experience at ASU allowed for an excessive amount of exploring, with one summer earning an artist residency in New York City, nine months working and studying in Singapore, followed by another summer working with a design studio in Germany.
While in Germany, summer 2014, Taylor read an Associated Press article covering 50 million displaced people in the world, which connected the dots for the topic of his senior thesis. The article, paired with Taylor’s desire to work with multidisciplinary teams, brought him to build a team of students in anthropology, architecture, industrial design, engineering and graphic design to work on improving the housing for refugees in West Rwanda. The project, Erasing Boundaries, formed a relationship with a not-for- profit 501(c)3 organization, Africa Health New Horizons (AHNH), based out of Phoenix, AZ and founded by Dr. Modeste Kigabo, who has experience with projects in Congo and Rwanda (www.africahealthnewhorizons.org).
After graduating from ASU and the completion of Erasing Boundaries, Taylor moved to San Francisco to work for an architecture firm, Valerio Dewalt Train Associates (VDTA), where he has been designing graphics and installations for Google, PayPal, Adobe, VMware and residential housing.
As of August, Taylor has relocated to New York City, after accepting a position with his dream studio, 2x4, where he will be designing museum spaces, runways and retail spaces around the world.
While residing in San Francisco, the team from Erasing Boundaries, now organized under the name Coastal Laboratories, due to the multidisciplinary team collaborating from coast-to-coast between San Francisco, Phoenix, Seattle and New York, continued working with AHNH. Coastal Laboratories was invited to join AHNH on a trip in summer 2015 to Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of Congo to study a potential project, Project Minembwe. During the trip, Coastal Laboratories was introduced to the people of Minembwe, located in East Congo, in the South Kivu Region.
Over the past six decades, the region of Minembwe experienced 30 years of unstable dictatorship, two genocides and was the epicenter of what historians call the ‘African World War’. Recently, as of 2014, the violence in Minembwe has reached a state of peace through the introduction of organized soccer by Dr. Kigabo. Soccer has removed hostility and healed relationships between members of the six regional tribes. While visiting Minembwe, the birthplace of Dr. Kigabo, Coastal Laboratories observed a need to improve the current conditions of the soccer field, and to form a space for organizing the now 32 soccer teams that have been formed between the six tribes.
Project Minembwe is the first phase of a transformational initiative that was established to foster reconciliation and peace among youth groups, tribes and the nation. AHNH is working collaboratively with Coastal Laboratories and other partners to design and develop a multi-purpose facility and soccer field that will be used to promote and protect the health of the people of Minembwe. The facility is projected to include a community center, clinic, and classrooms to further the education and talent that lives in Minembwe. Using Asset-Based Community Development strategies, the AHNH and Coastal Laboratories team will incubate, develop and promote the skills and talents of youth and other community leaders to sustain the work of building a vibrant and healthy Minembwe.
"There are so many question marks,” Loutsis said. "But we’ve gained the trust of the community of Minembwe, and AHNH and Coastal Laboratories have formed a deep relationship and passion for ensuring this campus is brought to life for the people of Minembwe. It is a beautiful feeling to live your passion by helping those near and far.”
AHNH and Coastal Laboratories are currently working on the strategy, timeline, budget and scale for the project. To learn more, how to become involved, or help, visit: www.projectminembwe.org.
Watch the full Taylor Loutsis speech from QV16 online: