Thursday, April 18, 2024

LSUS digital arts students designed materials for Providence House as part of class 

by BIZ Magazine

SHREVEPORT – “Buy For Two” tote bags. “Do I Look Homeless?” posters. “Our Home” sticker designs. 

LSUS digital arts students collaborated with The Providence House this semester to design marketing materials for the Shreveport-based nonprofit organization. 

The class – Design for Social Impact – focuses on experiential learning for students while assisting a local organization that’s fighting to break the homeless cycle one family at a time. 

“The aim of this class is to use human-centered design methods to design with clients and specific communities in mind,” said Rachel McDonald, assistant professor of digital arts and media at LSUS. “Courses that focus on service learning allow students to work with people in their own communities and away from the classroom, which traditional classes can’t always offer. 

“The course also allows students to gain real-world experience with clients and to learn the importance of research when designing for specific communities. On top of that, many students can’t afford to accept internships outside of school, so courses like this allow students to add ‘real’ work to their portfolios while earning their degree.” 

After students dove into the principles of human-centered design, McDonald said the class noted a misconception that Providence House serves just women and children. The residential treatment facility gears its services toward entire families. 

Students toured Providence House, met multiple times throughout the semester with organization and community stakeholders, and hosted a coloring workshop with resident children to better understand their needs. 

“The students wanted to focus on spreading a message of inclusivity by researching about local needs and populations,” McDonald said. “They were able to work with real clients and see their work in the real world.” 

Each participant worked on a particular message and item, which was presented to The Providence House in early December. 

“The Providence House seemed very pleased with the deliverables that our students presented,” McDonald said. “They mentioned being impressed by the amount of thought put into each piece and that the students conveyed the ‘heart’ of Providence House successfully by staying true to the vision and mission of the organization. 

“Many of the students mentioned falling in love with the mission of Providence House and have expressed interest in continuing design work for nonprofits in the future.” 

Students include Heather Linn (Buy For Two campaign), Heidi Linn (Our Home), Paige Gathright (Do I Look Homeless?), Kendall Jackson (Donate What’s Missing), Isabella Canton (Every Family) and Cassidy Adams (homelessness causes brand board). 

The fall semester was the second time this class was offered, and McDonald plans on offering the course every fall and spring semester with a different partner in each iteration. 

The class also partnered with Red River Revel to design flyers and social media graphics for promote the arts festival. 

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