Chowan Graphics Students Win with Hands-On Technology
MURFREESBORO, NC – The Communication Arts Department at Chowan University provides students with knowledge and hands-on experience with technologies that will assist them in making the transition from school to work. This hands-on experience also makes them formidable competitors in events sponsored by the Paperboard Packaging Alliance (PPA), Printing Industries of the Carolinas (PICA), and 48 Hour Repack.
Dr. Mitch Henke, Associate Professor of Graphic Communications, teaches packaging and structural design courses and encourages student participation in these innovative competitions. “One thing that I want to make sure my students know is that it is okay to make mistakes,” Henke says. “Problem Solving is a skill that will always be needed in life, so how they respond to those mistakes is very important.”
The PPA allows students to submit work that they have been working on in the classroom to be judged against work submitted by other students. Chowan Graphic students accepted the PPA product challenge to design an unconventional, innovative premium package for dry food that will stand out on an upscale grocery store shelf. This year Chowan had seven entries from their students.
The department brought back six awards from PICA this year, including one Best of Category Award won by Graphics student Rebeccah Noll, who submitted a glueless paperboard DVD case.
Competition allows students to gain a realistic understanding of how competitive the Graphics industry is. Some organizations, like the PPA, also provide $3000 student scholarships and so far the department has secured $9000 in scholarship monies.
Win or lose, the competition gives students the opportunity to work with a variety of different print and packaging technologies to increase the value of their learning experience. The department looks for students who are willing to think critically, problem solve, and can contribute to figuring out new and efficient ways to communicate information.
The department has yet to win a competition in 48 Hour Repack, but each year a group of students exercises teamwork and competes over the course of a weekend. Experiences like these make Communication Arts stand out. Henke hopes the department will continue to grow with new technologies like flatbed printers in the future to enhance their focus on assisting students as they transition to the workforce.