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Russell Westbrook Pulls Up To Pensole Lewis College To Inspire Design Students

Russell Westbrook was a featured speaker at the first and only HBCU (historically Black college or university) solely dedicated to design, Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design. The school, located in Detroit, unveiled the Pepsi x Frito-Lay Refresh and Relax Lounge on Sept. 21, 2023, and was designed by students currently enrolled in the university.

According to VIBE, the future NBA Hall of Famer was there with the founder of Pensole Lewis, Dr. D’Wayne Edwards, author Kevin Carroll, and PepsiCo’s Kent Montgomery. The men were there to participate in the lounge opening that Rodney Banks and Angel Buckens designed. The duo were the winners of the inaugural PepsiCo Design & Innovation program, with support from MillerKnoll.

Westbrook said, “I’m so grateful to be part of a partnership that is inspiring young Black creatives and prioritizing their education like the PepsiCo program at Pensole Lewis College. I share a mission with PepsiCo in wanting to create educational opportunities and provide valuable resources to young people who don’t always get the same support as their peers. Together, we want to inspire and encourage students to continue their creative journey and pursue a career in design.”

This initiative by PepsiCo Design & Innovation is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to further diversity in design in the Detroit area. Additional programs include a $25,000 donation to Diversity in Design, providing 250 local Detroit high school students with hands-on experience.

Local students from the School of Marygrove, Oakland Early College, Martin Luther King, Detroit Edison, University Prep Art & Design, Detroit Kappa League, and Closing the Gap Detroit also participated in the PepsiCo Design & Innovation and Pensole Lewis College Design Thinking workshop that was done in partnership with Chicago Mobile Makers.

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