Marketing & Media Relations
Brady Butler, Director
9000 Babcock Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15237

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Pittsburgh – On Sept. 21, 2012, graphic design students and interior design students at La Roche College participated in the global event PARK(ing) Day, during which parking spaces are temporarily transformed into temporary public places focused on social issues. Twenty-four students took part in the annual event, transforming six 18 x 10 parking spaces into opportunities for passers-by to learn more about subjects ranging from negative self-image to reducing one’s carbon footprint.

The original mission of PARK(ing) Day, which began in San Francisco in 2005, was to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of the urban human habitat. La Roche graphic design and interior design students were asked to choose a social issue on which to focus, and to find a way to present that topic within the temporary space. For four weeks, students from the two classes worked together to create concepts, plan the space, build the space and design a giveaway piece that would allow visitors to remember and continue to learn from the experience.

One example of the students’ projects included a parking space entitled “Release Your True Colors,” which focused on negative perceptions that college students have of themselves. Students were given the ability to reflect on these perceptions, release these negative images by throwing darts at black balloons filled with colored paint, and to regain a positive image of themselves by then leaving a note on the wall about their experience. They were then given origami balloons that contained positive messages as a keepsake.

Another project allowed students to take a test that rated their own carbon footprints, and provided infographic posters documenting the types of things that did the most ecological damage, including cars, food, water, goods and services. Students were then asked to make a pledge to lessen their carbon footprints.

“The result that we got from students, faculty and staff was overwhelming,” said Miranda Hall, assistant professor, Graphic & Communication Design, La Roche College. “At first, no one approached the parking spots, but after word spread through campus about what we were doing, more than 100 people visited us. They told us that they were impressed by how much inspiration and information they gained through the project.

“It was really good for the students to see what kind of an impact that their work had outside of the classroom,” she added. “They came to the realization that they could educate and influence people through their designs.”

Based on the turnout and response, La Roche graphic design and interior design programs plan to continue to collaborate on this annual event.

About La Roche College: A private, Catholic, co-educational college north of Pittsburgh founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1963, La Roche welcomes students of all religions, ethnic origins and talents. Undergraduates may choose from more than 50 majors, including the top 10 majors most in demand among today’s college students. La Roche combines a quality educational experience with clubs, athletics, social and community volunteer activities, spiritual well-being and more to prepare students for life in a constantly changing global society.

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