PCA&D team wins statewide America250PA design and marketing challenge

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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022

Pennsylvania College of Art & Design has been named winner of America250PA’s fourth annual 2022 Direct Effect Innovation Challenge (DEIC). The four-member Pennsylvania College of Art & Design team from Lancaster competed against four other postsecondary institutions — Lebanon Valley College, Point Park University, Rosemont College, and Ursinus College — and received the highest score from a judging panel of industry professionals during in-person presentations at the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg.

Mentored by Prof. Bill Dussinger, PCA&D team members included AJ Chase ‘25, Animation & Game Art; Cleo Kendrick ‘24, Graphic Design; Austin Taylor ‘24, Graphic Design; and Taj Younger ‘26, Illustration. 

The DEIC is a multi-round competition that challenges students from post-secondary institutions across the Commonwealth to design and develop integrated marketing campaigns that explore solutions to real-life challenges and questions. PCA&D’s project, PennsylvanYEAH!, proposes a bus to travel the Commonwealth, visiting each county, to inspire students with information about Pennsylvania leaders from every walk of life, and to challenge them to think about ways they also can serve as leaders. 

“We kept a ‘Leadership’ theme in mind for everything we came up with” as the team brainstormed, Dussinger says, “and we finally set our sights on a bus wrapped with the America250 branding. The bus would hit every county in Pennsylvania and promote youth leadership with fun activities and talks.”

Showcasing the creativity that art and design students have, Dussinger says, was key to the team’s success. “The video that was produced and judged for the final team selection was very creative,” Dussinger says. “We had a small remote-controlled bus decorated for the video … the video was packed with the ‘Leadership’ message, yet was fun and creative as it should be coming from an art college. I am so proud of the students … just because our college is small doesn’t mean we can’t do big things! Our students are so creative and really enjoy the opportunity to let that creativity loose.” 

“As an art and design college, our students appreciate the challenge to apply design thinking skills during the brainstorming process, then incorporate their animation, illustration, fine art, photography, and graphic design talents to actualize their concept,” says PCA&D President Michael Molla. “This competition allows them to apply classroom learning to a real-world opportunity. We’re so proud of our remarkable students.”

“Watching bright young Pennsylvanians participate in the Direct Effect Innovation Challenge each year is beyond inspiring,” says Cassandra Coleman, Executive Director of America250PA. “This next generation of Pennsylvanians holds the keys to our future and ensuring their involvement in the 250th anniversary is crucial to our work. America250PA aims to tell the stories of all Pennsylvanians over the last 250 years, but also hopes to shape the path forward for the next 250. It is our goal that programs like this one will empower these students to get involved and make differences in their communities for years to come,” she said. 

The 2022 challenge consisted of three rounds: the “Campus Challenge” in September, a virtual second round in October, and today’s in-person Final Round at the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex in Harrisburg, PA. This year’s theme, Lead PA: The Future is YOUth, challenged students to design and pitch an original program, project, or event and an integrated marketing campaign that empowers youth and inspires the next generation of Pennsylvania leaders. 

The 2022 DEIC was sponsored by UGI Utilities, Inc.

America250PA was established by the Legislature and the Governor in 2018 to plan, encourage, develop, and coordinate the commemoration of the 250th Anniversary of the founding of the United States, Pennsylvania’s integral role in that event, and the impact of its people on the nation’s past, present, and future. The Commission is made up of current and past Pennsylvania leaders, celebrating the rich history and diversity of the state.

Photo: PCA&D team members included advisor Prof. Bill Dussinger and, holding certificates from left, AJ Chase, Austin Taylor, Taj Younger, and Cleo Kendrick.