The Hamden Hunger Project

Addressing the often-overlooked issue of food insecurity in our local community.

Courtney Marchese
Associate Professor of Interactive Media + Design
School of Communications
Quinnipiac University

Amy Walker
Assistant Professor
Journalism
Quinnipiac University

Michaela Mendygral
Design, Journalism Student
Quinnipiac University

https://www.hamdenhungerproject.com/

Over the past year, an interdisciplinary team of faculty and students from the School of Communications have worked to address the often-overlooked issue of food insecurity in our local community of Hamden. Members of the journalism and graphic design programs have been using a combination of listening booths, two-way texting, billboards, flyers, surveys, and data visuals to build a dialogue with the community. That dialogue has helped raise awareness of hunger in Hamden, and guide those in need of food to available resources near them. Through this project, we also designed a comprehensive report with the United Way of Greater New Haven to help share key findings with the town, news outlets, and government figures.

The project is part of a broader endeavor to not only “design for good,” but to embrace all that is possible in a School of Communications. Our goal is to make important data and stories more accessible–aesthetically, strategically, and verbally–while teaching students to be collaborative, informed citizens.

Grafik Intervention: Sparking Urban Revitalization Efforts Through Graphic Design

Brit Rowe
Associate Professor of Art & Design
Department of Art & Design
Ohio Northern University

How can graphic designers use their skills and knowledge to draw attention to—and invoke a solution to—the problem of urban decay? How can they take responsibility and help rehabilitate those wounded environments?

Buildings that sit vacant for one or more years can become eyesores in any community and even bring down the value of properties surrounding them. In some situations, it is too costly to rehabilitate these spaces, causing developers to avoid them and leaving them susceptible to blight. This presentation discusses how students in a senior level graphic design course designed a Grafik Intervention to bring awareness to an underutilized building and to inspire community members to consider the potential the building held.

The Grafik Intervention is an open source project that identifies a site based on its underutilized urban space and potential for revitalization. The building is carefully selected based on its notable history and location. Along with the digital projections during the event, an historical exhibit was created to emphasize the significance of the building. The goal was to engage the public through visually dynamic and compelling communication methods. The projections were created to provide historical information in an urban context on the building after dark. Through the use of projected visuals and real-time discussions, printed questionnaires were used to elicit information from the general public as they walked or drove by the case study building.

Visualizing Pesticide Use in Controlling Zika

Courtney Marchese
Assistant Professor of Interactive Media + Design
Quinnipiac University

Information graphics help condense large amounts of data into comprehensive visuals. One of the most critical topics for the general public to understand is issues of public health. Zika virus has come to the forefront as one of the most threatening mosquito-transmitted diseases in the Americas, with proven complications that include microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Although there is currently no cure for Zika, there are a number of pesticides used in the affected areas in hopes of controlling the spread of the virus. In collaboration with scientists and other experts in the field, I will harvest and deliver the most important data to the general public. Through data visualization, we can track which pesticides are being used where, and how efficiently they are controlling the spread of the virus-carrying mosquitos.

My methodology in creating the information graphics is to research both data visualization techniques as well as pesticide use in the Americas as it related to controlling Zika transmission. I will also interview and collaborate with experts as I collect and analyze the necessary layers of data. From there, many iterations of potential visualizations will be created and critiqued until the best possible solutions have been created. My hope is that these graphics will help provide a comprehensive overview of the relationship between various pesticide use and the spread of Zika virus.