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Office of Student Engagement / Experience & Environmental Design

Within the office, there is no shortage of opportunities to roll up our sleeves and use our brain power to solve problems. But some team members really got to flex their creative muscles when we took on a project to design the Office of Student Engagement.

The office was established to serve as the hub for the UA’s 100% Engagement initiative and would be housed in the Student Union Memorial Center. The space, formerly used for testing and tutoring, was a bit lacking in personality – to put it nicely. With vanilla paint and glass walls covering a majority of the office space, the task of balancing an exciting design with the addition of more functionality presented a unique challenge.

Members of the design team got to work, creating mocks of their ideas to reveal all of the space’s hidden potential. Icons used on the 100% Engagement initiative’s current website would be used throughout the design on wallpaper, decals and other touches. The glass windows would be strategically frosted to create privacy without losing the sense of openness. The furniture layout would give flexibility for a variety of events, from meetings to student workshops and more.

Once the design was finalized, it was time to get to work. And quickly

“I think the biggest challenge was the timeframe,” said creative director Evi Loveres, who oversaw design efforts for the project. Fortunately, the team’s creativity doesn’t just apply to graphic design. It also comes to problem solving for tight deadlines

“We proposed the initial phase to be a surprise reveal,” Evi said. “We wrapped the entire space in butcher paper, enclosing all the windows and adding messaging that would pique curiosity of everyone who passed by the high-traffic areas. Behind the scenes – or, I guess the butcher paper in this case – we were working to finish the rest of the details like measurements, furniture, decals and paint. Basically, it was absolute madness and lots of coffee was consumed.”

In just a matter of three short weeks, the second phase of furniture placement and other finishing details was completed – just in time for the Office of Student Engagement’s grand opening celebration.

The project was a huge success and even earned a gold ADDY from the Tucson Advertising Federation in 2016

“We are really proud of the finished design,” Evi said. “The mood and the space not only brought visual continuation from their existing ‘brand,’ but also created an inviting space for students to collaborate, grow and learn more about engaged learning opportunities throughout the University.”