Newman University graphic design students collaborated this year to continue the university’s relationship with Catholic Charities and the creation of its Christmas appeal.
This is the fifth year Newman has contributed to the organization’s efforts, but the first year for Laura Scholl, assistant professor of graphic design and digital art, to take on the project.
“It was challenging to do it at the first of the year,” she said. “You don’t know the students yet and the project had a short deadline. But the students worked really hard. It was a good experience for them.”
Scholl said the students worked for a little over a month on the project. Five students, all graphic design majors, are in the Newman layout and production class that worked on the appeal: Elizabeth Harrison; James Pegues; Jessica Roberts; Cheyenne Rouse, and Abby Schmeidler. The theme the students developed in collaboration with Catholic Charities is “Give the Gift of Friendship.”
“We provided them the inspiration and then all students contributed to the design,” said Director of Communications and Marketing for Catholic Charities Heather Welch. “We have a nice campaign for this year that I think will be very successful.”
Welch said the appeal was mailed to 45,000 households throughout the Wichita Diocese, and that funds raised from the appeal will support the organization’s three family housing programs: St. Anthony Family Shelter, Harbor House and The Mount at Catholic Charities - Housing Services Program.
The St. Anthony Shelter provides families with basic needs, assistance and support to gain stable housing, as well as education and referrals to community resources. Harbor House for women and children who are victims of domestic abuse provides a safe place to stay and support services including counseling, education, assistance with employment and referrals to housing and community resources. The Mount is a new family enrichment complex that includes a residential housing program for families and single and pregnant women who are on the road to permanent housing.
In previous years, Newman students competed against one another and designed their own appeals, and Catholic Charities would pick its favorite. Scholl said she decided to make the project collaborative this year so students could work together and all use the appeal as part of their portfolios after graduation. The students did not receive grades or extra credit for the work; it was handled as a service project. Scholl said she hopes to do the project again next year in the spring semester as a final project for students, to give them more time to work on the card in addition to several ancillary pieces, and receive a grade for their work.
Scholl said that, overall, she thinks the project was a great opportunity for the students to experience working with actual clients.
“It was practical experience for the students,” she said. “They learned a lot about the dynamics of working with a client, as well as brainstorming and developing their ideas. They all supported each other in the critiques of work, offering ideas and improvements. It was a real world experience, not just the ideas or the artwork, but they saw that you have to learn about the organizations to do the work. It was expanding for students. It was a real project.”