BUFFALO—Erie Community College has long been known for giving students an animated classroom experience, one they can apply to either a career or continuing education. But, what if that experience was focused on creating cartoon images for kindergarten-aged children throughout Western New York?
In one South Campus classroom, such a creative exercise has become a reality.
At the direction of associate Graphic Design professor Steve Suffoletto, two semesters of ECC students have spent their Lithographic Press lab designing holiday-themed coloring pages for 17 area elementary schools and libraries. Students have spent their classes designing cartoon skeletons, snowmen and leprechauns, all for the sake of classroom coloring—and college credit.
“The paper we cut and print on would eventually be discarded as waste for recycling,” said Suffoletto, who returned to ECC this year after serving in the same position 17 years ago. “Why throw this paper away when we can convert it into a worthwhile project someone else can use and enjoy?”
With this consideration in mind, Suffoletto devised these distributable projects for his students. While designing snow people for winter or a bunny for Easter, they're using skills acquired through their program's curriculum. And, while enhancing skills utilized in the printing industry, students are making area elementary schools and teachers very happy with ECC-stamped artwork.
“When I deliver the coloring sheets to local schools and libraries, they are very excited and appreciative for the donation and thoughtfulness of ECC,” said Suffoletto. “One teacher told me she used the skeleton coloring sheet as an aid in health class by having children color different parts of the body.”
Going forward, Suffoletto hopes to have his and other students at ECC create more original drawings for more schools in the Western New York region. He'd also like to expand the project to service other grades outside kindergarten, service other clubs, organizations or hospitals that would be interested in distributing designs for coloring, and also host any aspiring Crayola artists at ECC.
“Maybe we could sponsor an art show or have a free community education class on campus where children could come in and color our sheets.”
Since 1946, Erie Community College has met the needs of a diverse student body while contributing to the economic vitality of Western New York. As a member of the state's SUNY system, the three-campus college provides flexible, affordable and accessible educational programs in an accommodating academic environment. Equipped with the knowledge of these programs, ECC's faculty, staff and students strive to enrich their host communities through skill, service and partnership.