|November 4, 1999
Volume 30 Number 7
|A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico|
Recreation and Parks Management Students Put Chico State on the Map
Emilyn Sheffield, Recreation and Parks Management, thinks big -- big enough to gather agencies from all over Northern California to collaborate with departments from the College of Education and Communication at CSU, Chico for a series of unique student projects.
Currently, the most visible results of her efforts are a beautiful series of two- by three-foot, full-color posters now hanging in Caltrans rest stops throughout the North State. Rich and detailed, the posters represent student work at its finest, with a high quality map and mouth-watering photos designed to entice travelers to our scenic byways (see photo of mapat left by Jeff Teeter).
The ten-month project took students outside traditional classroom parameters and included a high powered round table presentation in Sacramento before forty recreation, park, and tourism representatives.
Students working on the project included designer Janet Brockman, cartographer Adam Henderson, writer Tao Stadler, and project coordinator Niki Hertl.
"In one series of posters," Sheffield said, "we had a combination of graduate and undergraduates acting in their professional capacities, under the guidance of a two-person faculty team, me and Alan Rellaford."
Rellaford, who teaches in the Department of Communication, brings twenty years of experience from the big leagues of corporate identity and packaging. "Often times the real beauty of a design solution," said Rellaford, "isn't apparent at the outset. That only emerges as you try to solve the problem day in and day out."
The students solved design issues with cartography and worked closely with the Production Graphics Lab (PGL) to make the posters visually striking yet up to harsh rest stop conditions.
"Not only were students doing their day job on this project," Sheffield noted about the experience, "but we were able to connect the regular undergraduate and graduate missions of this campus with some of the economic and tourism development needs of rural Northern California."
The funding Sheffield received was tagged to help these communities collaborate, "so they could have an itinerary function, if you will, for travelers."
That meant they needed to entice visitors to stop, not simply speed on by. And it became apparent early on that the scenic byways were, as Sheffield put it, "an invisible treasure needing to be made visible."
Now these byways are defined on the poster map in bright branching yellow, hooking their way in and out of high speed corridors 101, Interstate 5, U.S. 395, and Interstate 80, while the gorgeous photos illustrate everything from history to high views.
It's a landscape Sheffield, who moved here from the Midwest, finds endlessly appealing, a place she feels she could happily spend the rest of her life exploring.
To this end, her liaison abilities are unending. "She's a dynamo," said her colleague Rellaford, "with amazing talent and energy, and a zest for giving students the opportunity to grow. She's really passionate about the North State and making people aware of what's here."
Currently, Sheffield is working out details to continue the poster series, so that, "before the end of 2000," as she put it, "faculty and students traveling anywhere in Northern California are likely to see Chico State work in rest areas."
And like the yellow grid of scenic byways on the poster map, Sheffield's other projects are interwoven and continuous.
Knitted in are communities in Weaverville, Modoc, Tahoe, and the Mojave, and partnerships closer to home with Butte County and the City of Oroville.
It's work Sheffield feels she couldn't do just anywhere. She's aided by the University Foundation and the support of various department chairs and deans, along with understanding colleagues who "are very gracious about picking up the slack when things get frantic."
"These are such a huge team efforts," she added, "and they involve everything that's good about this university. It takes a very special climate and very visionary leadership to let folks get this far outside the box." -- ZV
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