About Gateway

Gateway is the community newsletter of Pratt Institute. It is published monthly by the Office of Communications, in the Division of Institutional Advancement. For a list of contributors, click here.

Archives
Monday
Feb142011

Student Spotlight

Kevin Wong

Undergraduate Architecture ’11

 

What decided you on coming to Pratt?
I chose Pratt because the School of Architecture here is one of the best in the country. I also liked how Pratt was not only close to home, but also in the city where I saw myself establishing my career.

Why is architecture your chosen profession?
As a kid, I loved building things. My longest lasting toy growing up was my Legos. On top of excelling in math and science, I also was artistic and loved to draw. After taking a Computer-Aided Drafting course in my freshman year of high school, I fell in love with it. It was my balance between the technical and artistic. That’s when I knew I wanted to be an architect. I love designing things, especially buildings. I take a lot of pride in seeing my thoughts take shape for the service of people. I dream of the day that I see one of my building designs rise from the ground and scrape the sky.

Do you find the School of Architecture’s five-year curriculum extremely demanding?
If I did, I wouldn’t have the time to be involved in so many extracurricular activities. The first year is extremely harsh but it gets easier as you go, not so much because of the curriculum, but because you learn to manage your time, organize yourself, understand the tasks at hand, and know yourself well enough accomplish them efficiently, while still leaving room for yourself.

Tell us about your thesis on temporary structures.
When an attraction opens up, attendance is high since all the local people visit it; then years later it slows down to draw only a small tourist population. I’m proposing a large temporary exhibition hall similar to New York’s Jacob Javits Center that tours the country’s major cities to maintain high attendance rates. The idea is that the building will reside in a city for only a few years, then be moved elsewhere with fast deconstruction rates and efficient transportation methods. The current strategy is to use shipping containers and inflatable structures to assemble this temporary building.

What extracurricular activities do you pursue?
Currently, I’m part of the Student Government Association as the chair of facilities. I’ve been part of the Pratt Varsity Basketball Team for four seasons including this one. I’ve been an active member of the Pi Sigma Chi Fraternity since my freshman year in 2006. I’ve been president of the fraternity twice and many other positions under it. Last year, I was the president of the Inter-Greek Council, which is the governing body of all the Greek organizations at Pratt. I also was part of the Orientation Staff for 2010 and 2009.

Regarding senior class gift efforts, what advice have you given the Office of Alumni Relations about working with students?
It’s tough getting the attention of seniors during the school year. One thought was to send letters to their homes during breaks when parents could help push them to respond. Another idea is to communicate with students the year after they graduate to present a class gift to the class commencement preceding theirs. Regarding the gift itself, I suggested that it should be something physical instead of gestural. It’s nice to be able to come back and see it somewhere and say, “That was my class gift.” I still love seeing the marble bench that was my eighth grade’s class gift still sitting in the front circle of my elementary school.

What has surprised you the most about campus life?
How the Greek community functions: Before Pratt, I never thought I’d join a fraternity but Greek organizations here are very non-traditional. They concentrate on leadership and service. Greek members are the most involved students on campus of any other student group from community service projects to leadership positions. Aside from that, because of their similar goals and consistent interactions, the two fraternities and two sororities at Pratt feel as if they’re one big family.

Photo: Kyle Harrington