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Dominican Students Help Big Cats (VIDEO)

Dominican University graphic design majors and English majors recently teamed up to create brochures and a children’s book about animal rescue for a non-profit animal shelter.

A dozen students toured Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue and Educational Center in Rock Springs, Wisconsin, in the fall. They met with founders Jeff and Jenny Kozlowski to learn about the home for 29 tigers, lions and leopards who were rescued from backyard breeders and private zoos.

In the classroom over the next few months the students redesigned the shelter’s brochure and logo, helping the students gain real-world experience while also helping the shelter attract visitors and donors.

“From a graphic design point of view this is really exciting. This is a real client,” said Josh Hoeg, a graphic design major, class of 2014. “My group is working on the brochure that will be displayed in the Wisconsin Dells. That’s huge.”

The class, Art and Writing As Social Action, is led by Jean Bevier, associate professor of graphic design, and Ellen McManus, professor of English.

“We encourage the blurring of the lines between the writing component and the design component. They’re both very necessary for a successful piece,” Bevier said.

In addition to writing and designing the brochures and fundraising materials for the center, students also wrote and illustrated a children’s book about animal rescue to develop both their professional and imaginative writing and design skills.

“These are things that they will be able to put in their portfolios and put on their resumes, things they’ll be able to take out into the world as they begin their careers,” McManus said.

Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue and Education Center was founded in 2005 by Jeff and Jenny Kozlowski to rescue abandoned and abused big cats and to educate the public about the cats. Wisconsin is one of five states that do not have laws restricting the ownership of exotic cats.

“I love the fact that I’m not only working on an assignment. It’s a project for Big Cat Rescue to use,” said Maxwell Harris, an English major, Class of 2014. “I’m really appreciative that I get to help the organization and these animals, and help the founders of the Rescue make sure their dream comes to life.”