Rachel Whitlow A’94

Running for: Council

Campaign Statement

Cooper Union has been an integral part of my life since I was four years old when I attended the now gone Cooper Green Camp with my grandparents Cooper Couple Mary Rankin and Al Zalon A 48. The class of 1948 was a tightknit group of Cooper Aunts, Uncles and Cousins who’s dedication to design, commitment to community, and compassion for “lifting up our fellow human beings” still form an integral part of my life today. 

I have always felt quite fortunate to have been blessed with growing up surrounded by such an exceptional community. I am not only eternally grateful to Cooper Union for giving me and my grandparents a free education, I literally would not have existed without Cooper

I believe the Cooper Union’s three unique schools can be the nexus point of future innovations in my current field of circular sustainability. I believe that bringing the three schools together in interdisciplinary learning is an extraordinary opportunity to imagine and anticipate what the future could be. 

I served on the student council before and should I be honored with serving again, I will work tirelessly across disciplines to create opportunities for students and help bring back Peter Cooper’s vision of a tuition free education for all. 


Rachel Weatherford Whitlow is an artist, environmental activist, industrial designer, brand strategy consultant, and CEO from New York City and Mt Desert Island Maine. Whitlow received her BFA from Cooper Union in 1994, and graduated from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business Executive Leadership Program in 2010.

For 25+ years Ms. Whitlow as Creative Director and COO, has been able to turn around companies and brands facing industry disruption because she understands that even the best creative ideas can fail when the strategy for implementation and operational design are not defined proactively.  After many years designing products and visiting global manufacturers in diverse cultures, Whitlow realized that design has a broader ability to improve people’s lives, communities and the future of the planet. 

In 2010 Whitlow formed Clavis Partners LLC to help commercial environmental mission driven and non-profit organizations re-brand and reinvent themselves through developing innovative, implementable growth strategies. Clavis clients have included: Booz & Co. Geetanjali PVT and The Haverstraw Brick Museum where she is currently acting Executive Director. 

Whitlow is also CEO/Founder of Circlworks LLC,—a zero waste lifestyle brand with an innovative approach to product transformation that is committed to the remanufacturing and design of unique products from end of life textiles and other materials such as food waste in order to drive pull-through demand and shift the economy from linear to circular.

Whitlow’s product design work for well known luxury designers has been sold to numerous retailers and hotel companies in Europe, the US, Latin America and Canada. She has been published and featured in The New York Times, Elle Decor, Home Furnishings News, Home Textiles Today, LDB Home Interiors, Eyewear News, Women’s Wear Daily, House & Gardens and Better Homes & Gardens magazines,

Whitlow also continues to show her paintings on a regular basis. Whitlow is represented by the Upstream Gallery, in Hasting on Hudson and is available on Artsy. She has a show on view now, at Upstream Gallery until March 28, 2021.