Community Partnerships and the Digital Technology and Culture Program


By: Ruth Gregory and Evie Caldwell

Many courses in the Digital Technology and Culture program partner with local and regional groups to provide them with design services as a part of their regular coursework. DTC Assistant Director Ruth Gregory states: “The experience helps community partners who do not have the ability to complete these projects on their own while providing DTC students with valuable real world experience. Since many DTC students go directly into industry that real world experience of working for a client helps further prepare them for life after the program.”

Many of the partnerships are set up through the WSU Center for Civic Engagement. They believe: “Civic Engagement is central to the public purpose of higher education and essential to the student experience, empowering students to become active citizens in a democratic society. The WSU Center for Civic Engagement exists to forge community-campus partnerships that build community capacity, generate knowledge, and solve problems through service, leadership, and scholarship.” Past partnerships include work for a wide variety of governmental entities and non-profits like: Sojourner’s Alliance, Science on Ice, The Whitman County CASA program, and WISH Medical.

Animating a Traditional Story from the Coeur D’Alene Tribe
Still frame of animated coyote crouched in a forest.In spring 2019, students in professor Suzanne Anderson’s DTC 435: Advanced Animation class collaborated with the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Language Program. The mission of the language program is to create new adult speakers of Snchitsu’umshtsn in order to protect the Coeur d’Alene language from dying.

The students in Advanced Animation spent the semester creating animated versions of “Cricket Rides Coyote,” a traditional story from the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. The animated shorts incorporated voiceovers spoken in Snchitsu’umshtsn and music produced by Native artists. Four groups of students worked on the project. They shared their animations with members of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe at the annual DTC 3D Animation Showcase on April 23, 2019.

Redesigning Logos for Local Non-Profits
Meanwhile, students in Ruth Gregory’s DTC 497: Senior Seminar class redesigned logos for three different local associations. The class partnered with Mack Strong Team-Works Foundation, the Pullman Community Council on Aging, and the Latah Alliance on Mental Health.

On April 11, the three groups in Senior Seminar presented their individual logo master sheets to the class. During their presentations, they had a minute to explain the elements in their designs and sell them in a way that spoke to their respective community partner. The presentations were recorded and uploaded online so students could see what their presentation styles were like after the project was completed.

Providing Multimedia Support for United Way of Whitman County
United Way social media graphic featuring a photo of a collapsing house.The Fall 2019 Senior Seminar courses created promotional materials for the local chapter of United Way. The local chapter of the international nonprofit raises funds for regional agencies like Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse, Boost Collaborative, Circles of Caring, and many others. United Way is currently going through a name change from United Way of Pullman to United Way of Whitman County and attempting to reach out to a younger audience, so students were able to help with several different initiatives.

Two groups wrote press releases and designed social media posts, flyers, and posters. One group planned a social media and SEO optimization strategy. The final group took photographs and created a short video advertisement. On October 20, each group presented their designs to representatives from the nonprofit. The students were able to receive immediate feedback on their work. United Way will likely be able to use many of the promotional materials created by the class in their future materials.

Have a community partnership opportunity you’d like to share with the Digital Technology and Culture program? Feel free to fill out this form and we’ll get back to you about possibly partnering with your organization.