This month, the stark white Prius was adorned with a colorful, energy-themed car wrap created by Zak Stoddard, a Computer Graphic Design-Print major at MWCC. Stoddard's design depicts an electrical plug blooming among flowers, text promoting the college's Energy Management and Computer Graphic Design programs, and phrases encouraging onlookers to "Go Green" and "Charge Up Your Career."
Sonya Shelton, an adjunct instructor in the Computer Graphic Design program, initially thought up the idea of a car wrap to simultaneously promote the college's green programs and the work of CGD students. A college team, including representatives from Marketing & Communications, Facilities Management and the CGD and Energy Management programs, met to explore the idea.
The team decided that wrapping the college's hybrid Prius, used to deliver mail between campuses and for employee travel purposes, was a great opportunity to spread the word about the college's academic programs.The wrap, installed by D&G Custom Graphics of Fitchburg, was funded by MWCC Foundation, Inc. through a grant the foundation received from an anonymous donor to promote the new Energy Management program.
Shelton and CGD Chair Professor Leslie Cullen were excited to use the car wrap as a learning opportunity and as a way to showcase students' work. Students in Cullen's capstone CGD course, Portfolio Preparation, had the opportunity to submit designs for the car wrap.
"This project was something unique and quite different than anything our students have done in the past," Cullen said.
The class worked closely with D&G graphics, the same company that applied MWCC's logo and initials to the college's two wind turbines, to obtain a full-size template for the car. Students were then asked to create various layout sketches from the template provided, then created drafts of their ideas in full scale on the template. The project was presented as a real world project from start to finish. The client, David Schmidt, chair of the Energy Management department, came to the class to discuss the project parameters and provide information on the concept of energy management and what the curriculum entails at MWCC, Cullen said.
The Marketing & Communications department provided guidelines for elements to include on the car, such as the college logo, and students researched car wraps, energy management concepts and green solutions for inspiration for their graphics. Ultimately, a variety of creative, attractive submissions were narrowed down to a handful of finalists, with Stoddard's winning submission selected by the college's Executive Council.
"All the students who volunteered to design a car wrap should be commended for their workmanship and effort," Cullen said. "The final design was chosen by the Executive Council, and I personally couldn't be more proud of Zak Stoddard and his design. Zak has been a consummate professional throughout the entire project, from the initial concept to working closely with D&G Graphics to make sure production went smoothly. Zak deserves a world of credit for his work," she said.
"I look forward to his future successes and am thrilled to have his work showcased and the CGD department recognized every day when the Prius hits the road. Also, I couldn't be more excited about what was learned along the way. The educational value of this type of project surpasses so much of what we could have taught from a book or in the classroom alone," Cullen said.
Stoddard said implementing the project from start to finish provided an invaluable learning experience.
"It was a great opportunity for me because of the people I got to meet at the college through this process," Stoddard said. "I was glad to have this opportunity because it allowed me to gain experience in the field I plan to go into. When I saw this car finished, it made me very proud."
Pictured: Computer Graphic Design student Zak Stoddard with MWCC's Toyota Prius, now decorated with the car wrap he designed.