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Cal Poly, UCSB Team Up in Learn-By-Doing Venture

Student Printing, Design, And Communications Services in Student Partnership


Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication Department has teamed-up with the Associated Students at the University of California—Santa Barbara to create a by-students-for-students, learn-by-doing venture to provide communication and print services.

“This relationship demonstrates how a California State University (CSU) campus and a University of California (UC) campus can partner in a win-win situation for students,” said Harvey R. Levenson, Department Head of Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication Department. “This is an extension of similar relationship we have established between Cal Poly and CSU Northridge.”

This endeavor pairs student-run programs at each campus—the full-service University Graphic Systems (UGS) experiential student-run/faculty advised printing and publishing company at Cal Poly and AS UCSB marketing and advertising agency—to collaborate on design, printing, and other services.

“Print communication is key in promoting our groups’ activities and events, “ said JudyAnn Dutcher, UCSB Associated Students interim art director. “Utilizing UGS as our print vendor makes sense: the department can take advantage of quality products for an affordable price while fostering student-learning opportunities.”

Both UGS and AS UCSB provide services to the departments of their respective universities and to selective outside entities. Projects support student education and preparation to enter the workforce. The two campuses now serve each other to enhance a “learn-by-doing” educational philosophy to benefit students.

UCSB’s Associated Students Department (AS UCSB) serves as a creative entity providing graphic design services for student groups and staff. Cal Poly’s experiential student managed and run printing and publishing company, University Graphic Systems (UGS), teaches students to produce printed products using some of the most modern traditional and digital technology available for prepress, press, and wide-format printing, and finishing services. UGS students receive professional experience and credit for work performed.

Some of the products that the entities of both campuses have collaborated on include inserts, posters, and business cards. Others are planned for the future.

“The students who gain work experience in their respective programs find themselves ahead of the game when entering their profession, because they already have experience in things such as graphic production, marketing, sales, customer service and distribution. They know design, software, hardware, and technology from a practical perspective,” Dr. Levenson said.

Founded in 1946, Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication Department includes concentrations in graphic communication management, Web and digital media, design reproduction technology, graphics for packaging, and individualized study. The program is strongly supported with grants and endowments and by industry donations of equipment, supplies and software for the department’s more than 33,000 square feet of modern laboratories. The Graphic Communication Institute at focuses on services for industry, including research, testing, product evaluations, consulting, training, seminars, workshops, and conferences.

The department has national accreditation through the Accrediting Council for Collegiate Graphic Communications (ACCGC).
University Graphic Systems (UGS) was founded more than 40 years ago and has produced award-winning graphics in the printing and publishing fields. UGS produces the only university daily newspaper (Mustang Daily) in the nation that is fully produced by students on campus, and in full-color. More than 80 student employees and 14 student managers use sophisticated computer labs with the latest software applications along with four-color sheetfed, web, and digital presses.
 UGS also staunchly advocates environmental preservation and uses sustainable practices in all of its print productions. UGS is the only student organization of its kind that has been awarded FSC certification.

Associated Students at the University of California, Santa Barbara is a non-state funded non-profit organization paid for by the undergraduate student fees at UCSB. Through elected student positions and appointments, we voice student concerns and express student opinion to the UCSB administration, UC system, our community, and state and local governments. Associated Students supports dozens of boards, committees, and commissions that are organized and funded through A.S. to enrich student life and give students services and opportunities not offered by the administration. Our mission is to help students uphold the high academic standards and give them leadership, employment, cultural and growth opportunities to serve the campus community.

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