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DSU department recognized with two national awards

Dickinson State University's Department of Communications was recognized by the 2017 Collegiate Advertising Awards program as one of the top in the nation, specifically their monthly publication and a student brochure, which scored in the top fiv...

(left to right) Michelle Wilson, Marie Moe and Elena Stickel form a tight team whose efforts were recognized with two national awards. (Iain Woessner / The Dickinson Press)
(left to right) Michelle Wilson, Marie Moe and Elena Stickel form a tight team whose efforts were recognized with two national awards. (Iain Woessner / The Dickinson Press)

Dickinson State University's Department of Communications was recognized by the 2017 Collegiate Advertising Awards program as one of the top in the nation, specifically their monthly publication and a student brochure, which scored in the top five percent nationally.

"We spent a lot of time promoting what our students are up to, our staff and faculty members, their hard work and achievements," Michelle Wilson, public relations coordinator for DSU, said. "So it was kind of fun to write about the hard work we do. There's not a lot of platforms for what we do as a lot of it is behind the scenes."

The department was recognized for two specific things: the Admitted Student Brochure and their monthly Blue Hawk Bulletin. It was the first time in three years of submitting their work to the Collegiate Advertising Awards that they won two Gold Awards.

The Admitted Student Brochure resembles a vintage backpack, with an individual student's name written across the cover. It unfolds into portions, revealing a satchel of valuable information for new students. The brochure is intended to provide valuable orientation materials to students upon admission, and it represents a much larger goal of the university-to bring students into its family.

"It supports who we are, right? Small community, big opportunities," Wilson said. "You come to this university, and you get this feeling like I'm somebody. It's not just 'dear student'."

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Marie Moe, executive director of the communications department, demonstrated how the brochure functions, unfolding the detailed vintage-style backpack, made of a thick paper material like a greeting card and pointing out where it is individualized. The brochure features the student's full name displayed prominently outside and within.

"This piece, we call it a variable data piece because it's personalized to the student in two locations and it is a backpack. You open it, and it's like your little toolkit," Moe said. "It's something to make you feel like you're a Blue Hawk; welcome to the family. It's creating experiences for students before they come to orientation."

That personalized touch is something that comes from the tight collaboration and creativity between Moe, Wilson and their graphic designer Elena Stickel, who all did a portion of the work assembling the Bulletin, which is still in its first year of publication.

"We really like to put our own touches and spin on things. Even the bulletin ... has our own little stamp on it," Wilson said.

Part of the appeal of the Bulletin comes from its tangibility. Despite much of society trending toward digital, Moe said they wanted to make the Bulletin a physical entity first and foremost.

"There's this great big push to have everything be digital," Moe said. "What we found is that media and how people consume information changes over time, but people (still) like to have the news in their hands."

Keeping the Bulletin old school has paid off with a positive response from the readership, Moe said.

"We've gotten such positive feedback from the community. They love getting that news every month. They love getting the stories," she said. "We can't assume that all media is being consumed digitally."

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One of the Bulletin's features is that it includes opportunities for student articles. Hands-on experiences are invaluable for students, and for DSU, this means being able to provide updates on the various accomplishments earned by students and staff while also furthering educational opportunity.

"That's what going to university is all about, right, is getting that opportunity," Wilson said. "We want for the students who have an interest in this, whether it's vocational or not vocational, to work on a piece, have it edited, (published). It really matches the goals of the institution."

DSU's submissions were part of more than 900 entries from the United States and Canada, representing small community colleges to very large schools and universities. Participants' entries competed against similar-sized organizations in their specific groups and categories, and their submissions were reviewed by a national panel of industry experts, according to a press release from DSU. Judging criteria included creativity, layout and design; functionality; message effectiveness; production quality; and overall appeal.

Related Topics: DICKINSON STATE UNIVERSITY
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