Tag Archives: clark university

A Shot at Infographics

I’ve been doing some design work in my final semester of grad school, including an advocacy poster and logo design. Before we move on to the final project for the course, we were instructed to use good design to convey information — something that can easily become too complex if you’re not careful.

I picked a topic that relates to what I’m working on for my capstone project, which revolves around Shriners Hospital for Children.

project-32

 

Statement: For my third class project, I decided to design an infographic. I’ve always admired how someone can make a beautifully designed, informative, inviting and interesting composition. My topic relates to my capstone project, which revolves around Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston. I took the information from a posting on their Facebook page and tried to reconceptualize it. I wanted to make the poster more inviting than the topic suggests. It’s likely people wouldn’t want to think about children who have sustained burns, but when displayed in a more simple and visually appealing manner, perhaps more attention would be captured by this infographic than seeing the fact written out in a matter-of-fact way.

I also added a new slogan for the hospital, “Help the Healing,” which I think is more compelling than their current “Love to the Rescue” campaign.

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MTV at my university

http://clarknews.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/hollywood-and-reality-television-come-to-clark/


Future Clarkies won’t need to worry about the SAT

This time four years ago, there was a huge, blue paperback College Board book on my desk. It sat there for months, as those three letters, S A T, menacingly stared back at me. Did I ever do a single practice exam? No. I sold it to my neighbor and probably blew the money hanging out with friends after school.

Yeah, you remember this book.

I’m sure my dad wasn’t very happy about that, but preparing for the SAT just wasn’t something I wanted to do. I wanted to get a score I deserved, not one I crammed to get.

The test was just as annoying as I had anticipated. Waking up early, still in a groggy state, I drove to my high school and did what I had to do. I wrote about some pointless topic for 25 minutes and put arbitrary numbers into formulas.

The scoring system confused me, but apparently it confused others even worse; the kid next to me accidentally skipped a bubble, sending him into a fit of erasing that took more time than we were given. Redo.

The essays were also stupid. I recall one about yawning. Really? I’m getting up at the crack of dawn to take a test that’s going to make me read about yawning? What kind of maniacal people do College Board hire? “Even reading about yawning can make you want to yawn,” it said. Thanks, SAT.

When I got my scores back, it took me a while I figure it out. The year I did them, they had just changed the procedure for no apparent reason other than to make it harder for me to figure out if I was happy or not. My final reaction – meh. Not great, not bad.

I remember my AP English teacher telling us about someone she knew who graded the writing portions during the summer. They don’t give them enough time to read them and are told to just glance it over, read the first and last sentences and give it a number. This shocked and frustrated me to the point of doing a presentation on the shortcomings of standardized testing my senior year. Apparently I was onto something.

According to fairtest.org, nearly 900 colleges are now test-optional, Clark soon to be one of them. Yep, high school you didn’t need to freak out at all. They’re pretty much pointless.

Clark’s online news hub recently issued an article about their decision to go SAT/ACT optional by fall 2013. Due to a study by the Admissions office and faculty, the school has decided to put more emphasis on the student’s performance in high school, strength of the high school, character, class rank, and outside activities.

President Angel was also quoted in the article, saying Clark’s new LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice) program will work in conjunction with this decision. Don Honeman, dean of admissions and financial aid, believes that this fits well with Clark’s more hands-on approach to critical thinking and will foster students’ work and engagement with faculty and other students.

Retrospectively, I still completely agree with my position on standardized testing. It’s biased and encourages a narrowing of the curriculum. Students shouldn’t be taught to test well on a test to get them into college. They should be taught how to be engaged and think critically about real-life issues and problems. They shouldn’t study something just because it’s something on which they will be tested, and likewise, colleges shouldn’t base the enrollment process on numbers that can be skewed by so many variables.

While the argument that there needs to be some standard, measurable level of proficiency in such things as reading, writing, and math does hold some ground, there must be a better, more thorough way of understanding this aspect of a potential college student.

I’m just glad I didn’t freak myself out too much about the SAT when I took it.


Clark’s mailroom goes green

Read about what the Clark University mailroom is doing this summer to be more eco-friendly

The Scarlet [online]


Planets

Just showing off what I’ve been working on lately – 360×180 degree panoramic planets. They’re really satisfying when done right… and by done right I mean for days. It usually takes a lot for me to finally be happy with the end result, but this one came out pretty cool. It’s of Woodland Street, Worcester, MA, by Clark University. A lot of the houses on the street are department offices and classrooms. The President’s house and various other important sectors of campus are here also.

This link has one of the best tutorials. Tiny Planets Tutorial


One person’s trash…

Clark University is a school that’s entrenched in the principles of going green, being sustainable, and all those great, hippie ideals. That’s one of the reasons I love it here. However, actions speak louder than words, and Clark’s green reputation only gets it so many points. We’ve probably got more eco events and groups on campus than you can count. You can get your degree in environmental science, global environmental studies, and environmental and conservation biology. You can take courses like Sustainable Consumption and Production, Environmental and Social Epidemiology, and Environmental Ethics, or join some of the many eco-centric groups on campus, includingthe Clark Sustainability Initiative, the Ecological Representatives, or the Global and Environmental group.

Somehow, despite all of these initiatives around campus, there’s still a disconnect between ideology and practice. Waste Management supplies cardboard bins on each floor of every dorm on campus. Throughout the year, students casually discard unwanted items of clothing. In the past, other students were the only ones taking advantage of this. Last year the Clark Thrift Store started up. Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea of having a thrift store on campus, especially one so easily accessible to the surrounding Worcester community, but now they’re the ones who supposedly get first dibs on what gets tossed in the bins.

Panorama of the Clark campus. Photo by Ashley Klann. Not to be reused without premission.

This wouldn’t be such a huge deal if Clarkies didn’t use these bins as a dumping ground at the end of the semester. After I’m done with finals, I always make a point to grab the largest bags I can find and set out on a campus-wide haul. Over the past three years here, I’ve snagged some Armani pants, leather jackets and boots, brand name shirts with the tags still on, decorations, and Clark apparel that usually goes for upwards of $40.

One of the funniest things I ran across was a slew of textbooks that sold at the bookstore for around $20. Yep, someone threw out their textbooks instead of getting some money back. I know the Clark bookstore is notorious for either not accepting your buy-backs or giving you next to nothing for them, but come on!

This year was just as ridiculous. Piles of trash (including unused rolls of paper towels and perfectly eatable food items) accumulated outside the dorms as students were moving out, feeling free to toss out their bulletin boards full of eco-friendly stickers and buttons as they went. There were also trashcans, rugs, and enough mattress pads and bedding for you to reenact The Princess and the Pea.

I find it both sad and disturbing to see so much waste on campus each semester. At least the Clark Thrift Store will be using it, but still… Are we really that lazy and materialistic? I can only imagine it’s even worse at schools that don’t even give off the impression of being environmentally conscious.

I’ll keep scouring the bins and stocking up on free clothes. Thanks, Clark!


What’s in a shirt?

This time of year is a strange one for anyone still in academia. People are finishing up things and leaving. With all of this comes a lot of change in identity. If you’re graduating, you’re no longer a student. Something that was just recently a huge part of your identity is now gone. You’re an adult. Many students are also packing up and leaving the area in favor of “home” – yet something else that changes identity in this time. I stay around for the summer, and Worcester changes too. Parking spaces are much less difficult to find, you see your neighbors out for a stroll, and everything has a nice, clean, healthy feel to it. Perhaps it’s just the welcomed difference of green replacing the white, but the city does seem different in the summer. I feel more like a part of it than a part of campus.

So where does the title of this post come in? Later today, I’ll don my uniform for work. Like many people who work a less-than-amazing minimum-wage job, it consists of a red polo, black pants, and a visor (I’ll let you choose which of the 1,000 or so places that could be). I walk through a neighborhood filled with a lot of my fellow students and also pass by our field house where student athletes are usually milling about or practicing. Suddenly, I’m no longer a part of that sphere. Once I put on my uniform, I no longer feel like a student. It’s a very strange feeling, but these slight changes really do make a difference, and I doubt any of them would acknowledge me in the same manner.

Soon it won’t be an issue though. Students will move out, leaving all of their clothes in the donation bins in the dorms and their furniture in piles on the street. We’ll see if we can fit one more chair in the kitchen and bid them farewell until late August when the whole show starts again with fresh faces. I’m glad I’m sticking around for the summer.