JOE SLAVICK, a 2009 graduate of Immaculata with a B.S. in Marketing Management and a minor in Graphic Design, went on to pursue his master’s of design in design innovation (M.Des Design Innovation) at the prestigious Glasgow School of Art, Scotland, and he has distinguished himself as a member of the winning team in a competition sponsored by the Audi Design Foundation.
Sustain Our Nation put the challenge to young designers to develop an initiative that would address key national issues such as an aging population, health, finance, crime, energy and climate change, and develop those innovative ideas to create sustainable change at the local level.
According to Slavick, “The goal was to create a sustainable social enterprise, and we looked at a lot of places before choosing Wyndford, a lower-income area where the primary school had closed just the year before, and there was anti-social behavior going on in the community due to a lack of activities.”
Slavick and his team, known as GetGoGlasgow, felt strongly that for any endeavor to succeed, especially over the long term, they would have to engage the community every step of the way. “My job, as well as that of my classmates, was to get to know the people of the area, and then identify the key stakeholders,” said Slavick.
“The most challenging part of the project was establishing a relationship based on trust with the members of the Wyndford community,” said Slavick, “helping them to understand that we were in this for them, and not just to get a good grade.”
The winning concept, called Green Gorillaz, involved people of all ages, from youngsters to seniors, in an effort to create a sense of ownership, cooperation and responsibility. It was one of three original ideas, and it took months of working closely with residents to finalize a concept that would truly work for them.
“The winning concept was based on a community-run group that would oversee activities proposed by residents,” said Slavick. “The idea was simple in that if you keep the community involved, then they take more pride in the area.” Residents could present ideas for events and projects to a board of community members and get funding to run them.
When word came that the GetGoGlasgow team had won the competition, Slavick admitted it was a bit of a surprise at first. “I think we won, though,” he said, “because we made a connection with the people of the community. Other teams presented ideas that were created in a studio, but we had real people and stories to back up our project.”
In addition to making a connection with local residents, the win secured £20,000 for the Wyndford community to run the project. “After all the celebrating, we had to make this project a true reality,” said Slavick, “so much more work had to be done after that.”
Slavick is now busy looking for jobs and awaiting his new visa, which will allow him two more years in the UK. “I have always had a love for advertising,” he said. “The creativity and strategy behind it is really appealing.” But Slavick is up for almost anything. As he pointed out, “Being from the first co-ed class at Immaculata, new things are just something that I like to try.”