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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

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A+volunteer+plays+with+a+cat+at+Hermitage+Cat+Shelter+on+January+29%2C+2014.+A+class+of+English+students+are+working+on+a+project+in+which+they+design+ads+for+Hermitage.
Joey Fisher

A volunteer plays with a cat at Hermitage Cat Shelter on January 29, 2014. A class of English students are working on a project in which they design ads for Hermitage.

UA students have been given the opportunity to gain real work experience creating new advertising material for Hermitage Cat Shelter, a nonprofit organization, through a course in the UA English department.

“I’ve done successful collaborations with community partners in the past, and I’ve always loved cats, so I thought pairing my students with Lee and Hermitage would be great for both parties,” said Kristin Winet, professor of the English 308 class working on the project. “When I reached out, I didn’t realize that Hermitage was about to undergo renovations and a new campaign, so the timing was really serendipitous.”

Lee Bucyk, executive director for the Hermitage Cat Shelter, said Winet contacted her asking if Hermitage Cat Shelter would be amenable to being the class project for the semester. Bucyk said she thought it would be beneficial for those at the nonprofit shelter, because they do not have a graphic artist on staff and do not have the money to spend on the types of materials they desperately need completed.

“They’re working on some brochures, fliers and a splash page that will not only increase our awareness in the community but also hopefully help us with some fundraising of donations for the shelter,” Bucyk said.

Winet said she hopes her students walk away with a greater sense of the impact their words and ideas can have and the knowledge that they can enact real social change in the world.

“One of the best parts about community-centered learning is that students have the unique chance to step outside the walls of the university and participate in meaningful work with local nonprofits and organizations,” Winet said.

Bucyk added that before the students began working on the project, she spent time meeting with each of the classes to give a PowerPoint presentation about Hermitage Cat Shelter, its background, how many cats there are, and the types of programs and services they offer. Last week, she said she listened to the presentations of the teams of five to six students from the classes.

“It was really nicely done,” Bucyk said. “They dressed up, and it was very professional. Each team went, and I evaluated them with a score sheet and then critiqued their work along with two other professors from the English department.”

Bucyk said the students will now have the opportunity to revise their materials, and she will meet with Winet either later this week or the next to look at the students’ final pieces for their portfolios; she will then pick a winner.

“Working with the Hermitage [Cat Shelter] has given me hands-on experience creating technical documents for a real, successful nonprofit organization,” said Jenna Radomski, a nutritional sciences junior in Winet’s class.

Radomski said the project required the students to take the project more seriously because it involved a community partner. She also said she learned a lot about working in groups and creating documents that match the needs of a successful company.

“Each group had the very real possibility of having their documents chosen to represent the Hermitage,” Radomski said, “so we definitely aimed to impress.”

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