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Springfield College’s Hidden Gem Gives Back

Brandon Eckles
Staff Writer

When thinking about applying to Springfield College, the first things that come to mind are: Physical Education, Physical Therapy, and Athletic Training. Historically, Visual Arts and Graphic Design has not been the most prominent field of study on campus, but that thought process is slowly changing.

Tucked away on the second floor of Blake Hall is the Performing and Visual Arts Department where students study a plethora of things. They can commit to graphic design, work with 3D applications, or even design gaming.

Program director and professor of Computer Design Ruth West referred to the mission of the program as “trying to put out a well-rounded computer artist.” Students from this program have gone on to do numerous things, from building apps to becoming Web artists at ESPN.

“They’ve become the most marketable they can be.” West said. The well-roundedness and marketability students in these programs have reached is a testament to the education they received while at Springfield College. It is so fulfilling that West and all the other professors want to share Springfield’s hidden gem with the rest of the community.

On Saturday, Oct. 10 at 10:30 a.m., students from all around the community will participate in an event called GameLab. West called it a “recruitment event” for two different reasons: it’s an opportunity for high school juniors and seniors who have an interest in gaming to experience that world in a hands-on environment, but also it is a recruitment event for Springfield College. The day consists of four tutorials, a luncheon, panel competition and guest speakers.

The GameLab tutorials will give students “an understanding on where they want to be on the spectrum of gaming,” said West. They will participate in four tutorials, each of which will consist of a different aspect of the gaming world, such as gaming design and working with multiple computer applications. Then, they will have a luncheon with professors and experts in the field to continue conversations about the gaming industry. The day will conclude with panel discussions from those same professionals. They will discuss the topic of game design and the art behind it.

West explained this will give students a sense of where the gaming industry is going. The makeup of the panel will be well-distinguished and they also will serve as judges for a competition between the students where they can display their design products in a competitive forum. The winner will walk away with an iPad.

Saturday will mark the second year of this program and there has been a lot successes and changes after just one year of existence. West called the program a success because it is not only a glimpse of the program, but a glimpse of Springfield College. It is something that brings the community together. Any school within 100 miles of campus can participate.

“This is how the Visual Arts Department gives back to the surrounding community and embodies the Humanics Philosophy,” said West.

So far, Professor West has done a remarkable job promoting the program. In her tenure, she has built up the program from eight students to 55, even prior to GameLab. The years to come will bring many more prospective students to Springfield College and to the second floor of Blake Hall.

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