University of Arkansas – Fort Smith students helped get out the vote this week as part of a project in a graphic design course, a hands-on learning opportunity that also helped drive civic engagement in the community.


Bryan Alexis, associate professor of graphic design, tasked students in his advertising design class with creating campaigns to encourage residents to vote, a process that involved researching demographics with low voter turnout, creating personas of the average voter in those demographics and designing posters, billboards and short animated videos targeted to those personas.


Alexis encouraged students to do their best work by arranging to promote their work to the community. He partnered with Bobby Rogne, a web designer at Rightmind Advertising and alumnus of the graphic design program, as well as RAM Outdoor Advertising to run the student-created designs on two brand new digital billboards on one of the busiest avenues in Fort Smith.


Alexis said the project provided students valuable exposure.


“They’re on the front-end of their career, so they don’t get to see their efforts on display in front of thousands of people like this very often,” Alexis said. “I took a brief poll in class and asked what they thought about having their designs on billboards, and they were all pretty pumped about having their work out there.”


Students participating in the class were:


Beebe: Kacy Fernau.


Chetopa, Kan.: Chelsea Adler.


Fort Smith: Jimmy Nguyen, Claudia Lackie, Heli Mistry, Mary Moore and Cole Stufflebeam.


Greenwood: Taylor Daggett.


Hot Springs: Brooklin Easley.


Muldrow, Okla.: Tyler Aikey.


Van Buren: Rachael Long and Katelyn Smith.


Winslow: Cassandra Lopeman.