As part of a series of interviews with the presidents of student organizations at Colby-Sawyer College, Michael Lepore '12 discusses the mission and activities of the Graphic Design Students Alliance (GDSA) and his role in leading the organization.
What is the mission and purpose of this club?
The purpose of the Graphic Design Students Alliance (GDSA) is to promote extracurricular involvement with the arts and graphic design. Our club hosts two regular events, Photoshop Tennis and the Visiting Artist. Photoshop Tennis is a game that allows members to have fun and showcase their Photoshop skills. The Visiting Artist event is when the club contracts a professional graphic designer or artist to come and speak to the campus. In addition, our club handles freelance design projects for both local and on-campus organizations. We are also working to develop further ideas for events that will involve a larger portion of the campus, so stay tuned.
Why did you get involved and seek a leadership role?
GDSA was formed in 2008 and while our numbers are relatively small our meetings have six to 10 dedicated plus others who cannot make the meetings but attend events we are a very close and involved group. We are slowly getting bigger.
When I joined I was recruited to fill an open officer position and was originally the club's treasurer. In the middle of the semester the president graduated early and our vice president resigned, so I was promoted to president. Being a graphic design major and wanting to support the club, I accepted the role and have been the club's acting president ever since. It is very rewarding and I am happy to be involved with such a great group of people.
How does this club complement your academic studies?
GDSA works to complement the academic studies of everyone who is involved with the group. Everyone gets experience when we work on design jobs for clients (both in terms of graphic design and working with customers), everyone learns something new each time we do Photoshop Tennis, and we also learn quite a lot when we have our visiting artist here. The club reinforces what is taught in the graphic design courses and gives students another place to practice their skills and be around others with similar interests.
What does being part of this group mean to you?
Being involved with the GDSA is very rewarding. I enjoy the extra involvement with graphic design and it is great to be around other like-minded and creative people. We are one of two art clubs on campus and one of only a few in the state, so it is quite fun and interesting to be doing something unusual, especially with our events. My favorite memory with the club is of our first Visiting Artist event last year with graphic designer Doug Harp, owner of Harp & Co. based in Hanover, N.H. We worked hard to build up the event we even had it catered and we weren't sure how it would turn out. We wound up with a huge crowd and Doug delivered an amazing presentation. It was a great event that we all enjoyed and at which we learned a lot.
What goals do you have for this club?
Just to continue to grow and work to offer more successful events. We are trying to come up with other event ideas that can involve our club with the rest of the campus and increase interest in art and graphic design.
Who should join this club, and why is it important to the college community?
Anyone who is interested in art and graphic design should join. We are not just graphic design majors; two of our officers are studio art majors, so we are open to anyone who wants to join regardless of major. We are important to the college community because we help represent the Art Department and expand interest in art and graphic design on campus. If you are creative or like art, we are definitely worth checking out and would welcome you at our meetings held Wednesdays at 7 p.m. at the Sawyer Center Graphic Design Lab.