WSU Design Students Benefit from Community ProjectsOGDEN, Utah – With the assistance of their professor, Weber State University graphic design students are applying course concepts in the real world and benefiting the community at the same time.
WSU Assistant Professor Pam Beverly began teaching in the Department of Visual Arts in 2002. A main component of her classes involves community service projects for organizations. Students have done designs for the Utah Food Bank, The Sharing Place and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. "I want my students to care about having an influence on the community," Beverly said.
Michelle Lewis, one of Beverly's students, said her group project for The Sharing Place meant a lot to her.
"It was a great opportunity to get out there and help the community," Lewis said. "We're so busy here at school that to be able to help somebody and volunteer was really nice."
Currently, 14 students are completing a project for the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) where they designed art to go on stairwell walls. Two years ago, Beverly learned from some friends that UDOH wanted to promote exercise among its employees by encouraging them to take the stairs. Beverly felt her students could aid UDOH's efforts by designing murals to be painted in the stairwell. The project was approved earlier this month, so the students have had to execute the project's details quickly. They planned the project, estimated the cost of supplies, created the designs and painted them on the walls of the stairwell.
Working in teams, the students created 12 designs and presented them to a UDOH committee; three were selected.
"I knew at the presentation that my work was done," Beverly said. "The students were very professional."
Another benefit from the project is that students get the opportunity to expand their course work outside the classroom and gain valuable experience. "I have done a lot of design work," Beverly said, "and it's important for designers to be able to take their design and put it into a three-dimensional environment."
Kedrick Ridges, one of the students who worked on the project, said that the assignment has added another element to his education.
"It's been a little hard because we've had to take time out of our busy schedules and drive down to Salt Lake," Ridges said. "But I think this has prepared me better in the future for real jobs when I'm asked to take on a project from start to finish. Projects like this look good on a resume because it shows experience outside the classroom."
The students began painting the project at the UDOH April 20.