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RIT Students Create Ad Campaign For VLSP

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

  • By: Kevin Momot
  • Organization: VLSP

Students at the Rochester Institute of Technology conducted a presentation as part of the new media team project course for the School of Print Media, focusing on advertisement and website development for the Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County.

Professor Twyla J. Cummings instructed several teams of students in the eight credit course, spread over two quarters, to implement a specific multi-media project for a designated not-for-profit agency. With participation and support from VLSP, including Sheila A. Gaddis, executive director, and West Group, including Robert L. Serenka, principal attorney editor, RIT students applied their skills in a collaborative effort to produce a new media project for VLSP.

"This project grew from an initial discussion to something that was very valuable," Gaddis noted, "and a majority of the students' work will be implemented by VLSP."

The project focused primarily on implementing design changes for VLSP's present advertising campaign, and developing a client friendly, updateable website. Students created various ads to appear in local newspapers and magazines, including the Democrat and Chronicle, The Daily Record and Freetime. The multi-media campaign also focused on the use of bulletin board fliers and, in a collaborative effort with the Regional Transit Service, the use of bus advertisements.

Also, the students looked to isolate problems inherent in the current VLSP website, providing upgrades to website content, new color schemes, rotating photos and new testimonials. The goal of these changes was to make the VLSP website more user friendly by categorizing accessible information.

The media project included the creation of a survey to be completed by past volunteers (the survey included pictures of prominent local attorneys) which could also be completed online through the VLSP website. Students also created a prospective volunteer postcard to encourage participation with VLSP. Using the Monroe County Bar Association database and VLSP database to compile a list of attorneys who had not yet worked with VLSP, postcards were sent to potential volunteers.

The culmination of the students' efforts was a final presentation evaluated by fellow classmates and the client, VLSP.

The ultimate result of this extensive project was to use the skills and knowledge of the students at RIT to benefit local nonprofit community groups such as VLSP.

Justin Steinhard, project manager for the team, commented that "the course provided real world work experience, allowing us to interact with individuals in the legal community on a professional level."
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