Conestoga news

August 11, 2021 4:47 PM

Design students support local non-profit

Fourth-year students in Conestoga’s Bachelor of Design program collaborated with local non-profit organization Autism Dog Services (ADS) on a project to help with volunteer recruitment efforts. 

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Bachelor of Design students created marketing campaigns as part of a real-world program project to help local non-profit organization Autism Dog Services recruit volunteers.

Located in Brantford, ADS trains and pairs service dogs with children who have autism or other developmental disorders. The dogs offer safety, companionship and independence to a child who might otherwise feel isolated, enabling them to build self-esteem and participate in school and community life. The organization relies on volunteers to help foster and train puppies for service.

Integrated into program coursework as a design competition, students were asked to create marketing campaigns that utilize the organization’s social media platforms to generate engagement and volunteer applications. Working in teams, students created design elements that would re-align ADS’ brand and be implemented as part of a greater marketing strategy. ADS chose two team submissions as its top choice.

“Autism Dog Services mainly operates with volunteer involvement, especially the puppy training program,” said Vicky Spadoni, ADS executive director. “We are very grateful to now have up-to-date design approaches to call upon when we run a recruitment campaign.”

Students Hannah Bryan, Emma Caswell, Taylor Jackson, Jan Panganiban and Chloe Reynolds focused their design campaign on leveraging organic content around key messages. The campaign slogan, Raise them to be…, is meant to inspire an emotional connection that targets audiences of young families, students and retirees to get involved.

For their design campaign, students Monique Ekres, Breanna Gondosch, Erica Glaskin-Clay, Fanni Horvath and Anika Molenaar encouraged engagement through interactive quizzes and fact sharing to help demonstrate the PAWsitives of fostering or training a puppy rather than adopting.

“This was a great collaborative opportunity,” said Conestoga professor Michael Castledine, who organized the project. “It challenged students’ creative problem-solving skills while building community involvement, live client design solutions and gave back in an impactful, positive way.”

Conestoga’s Bachelor of Design program is unique in Ontario for offering students an interprofessional perspective that blends graphic design, marketing, management and liberal studies courses with co-op opportunities. The program employs a project-based learning approach that addresses design and entrepreneurship skills, and offers the opportunity to engage in dynamic studio projects for both in-class and live clients.