by Lisa Pike
After extensive voting by students for how club/organization funds were going to be divided for the spring 2009 semester, the CCNE Design Collaborative ranked number one in the polls. Fears of whether or not the group is benefiting the entire college community and not just the graphic designers can be put to rest in the fact that the group is redesigning the campus image, helping to bring in new students and making present students proud of CCNE through its work.
The idea for the design collaborative had its beginnings in the Interactive Design classes taught by Luke Buffenmyer and Jay Bordage. “The students showed a real interest and motivation to improve the visual image of the school and its portrayal as an academic art institution,” said Luke Buffenmyer one of the new group’s advisors. These students which included Nicole Glynn and Emily Brochu, who are now acting president and vice president of the group, took the initiative and set up a meeting with Dean Laura Ives. The goal of the meeting was to see if the group could participate in the production of the college’s annual publications which are usually done by the student affairs office or admissions. Ives gave the group the go ahead and they were able to do a visual insert for the recent college view book which won an award this past January, as well as updating college postcards and mailers for the spring semester.
When the opportunity came to be recognized as a formal organization the collaborative jumped at the chance, hoping to get much needed funds but were determined to continue on without, if necessary. Especially, Vice President Emily Brochu who has used the opportunity to create her own independent study based in structuring the work of the group into a business and non-profit organization and experiencing the many avenues of professional practices in the process. To begin the process the group has used its club funds to buy new printers and furniture and to renovate Douglas 19, the room set aside by the college for the group’s new headquarters.
The ultimate idea that Brochu is helping to structure is the expansion of the collaborative through off campus, non-profit projects such as writing copy and creating original photography. By branching off to companies and publications off campus it will allow opportunities to learn about careers and professional work outside the usual college academics. Essentially, students will be learning how to set up and run a business as well as short-term vs. long-term projects. The other benefit for the students involved is the receiving of critiques from on and off campus colleagues in the field of visual/written arts and employing their help in building their portfolios. In addition, the group is looking into the possibility of an internship in conjunction with a local company some time next year for students.
The main mission for the collaborative is to improve the school’s image in order to better convey the ideals of an art school which highly values academics and artistic expression and to draw people in to attending the college. The graduating design seniors see this reconfiguration of the school’s image as their legacy by influencing prospective students to continue to enroll at the college. The collaborative has found many projects to work on this semester concerning seniors and incoming students including, gallery posters, senior project announcements, a new postcard, a mailing card for accepted students, and a new faculty website. Their biggest upcoming project is the Chesterfest in May, for which they will be providing posters and announcements in association with the Student Government Association and the Campus Board of Activities. Participation in the group is open to anyone in any major because all types of representative work are valued for use in college publications and other off campus opportunities. The group meets Wednesdays at 4 pm in Douglas 19. Come ready to create!