Service Learning Project Combines Graphic Design with Community Purpose
Students in Mike Chau’s Design Studio course participated in the ultimate applied learning experience this quarter by partnering with the city of Waite Park.
When Harold P. Nelson, a Waite Park native, donated $150,000 to the city as part of his estate, it created a “good problem to have” for City Administrator Shauna Johnson. Along with a Health Improvement grant from the state, the city had funding to launch the project to promote healthy living in a local community park, but a June 30 deadline loomed and much work needed to be done.
“We thought of the students and their talent right down the road,” said Johnson, and she contacted Interactive Media and Graphic Design Chair Mike Chau.
“You could not have written a better application of the service learning objectives,” commented Chau regarding his Design Studio course.
And his students went to work collaborating with Johnson and other city officials to design 17 trail signs, including welcome signs, tips for reducing cancer and medicinal plant identification. They designed logos and layout as well as planned color schemes.
The project drew local media attention as well, with a write-up in the St. Cloud Times. Design Studio Students and Waite Park
All could agree that the ultimate reward of the project was the contribution to the surrounding community.
“The key is for them [students] to fulfill a community need,” Chau said. “It’s exciting for them to produce something that will be in this community for a long time.”
“It’s nice knowing that you’re doing something that will benefit the community,” Myles Kedrowski added.
And the end result can be seen at River’s Edge Park on June 30th — and for years to come.