Durham College students receive appreciation for playing it safe

Durham College (DC) was recognized on Wednesday, May 6 by the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) and the Insurance Bureau of Canada for its unique approach to emergency preparedness.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Emergency Preparedness Week, which this year runs from May 3 to 9, a group of students in the Interactive Design and Media program collaborated with OFMEM to create a series of videos and posters to promote emergency preparedness in Ontario.  

Students were required to create 60 to 90 second videos for families and seniors that stressed the importance of being prepared for situations such as emergency preparedness on campus, stovetop safety, emergency preparedness for pet owners, electrical blackouts, storms, floods and public alerting – just to name a few. The criteria was set by OFMEM, and students had to work with them to develop a process from feasibility study to the end product.

“This recognition will motivate and build the students’ confidence for their future careers,” said Linda Cheng, professor, School of Media Art & Design at DC. “It taught them to listen attentively, understand the needs of a client, come up with a plan, form a team, establish a timeline and deliver a final product.”

The partnership initiated in 2012 when Jude Kelly, Communications and Public Education, OFMEM, worked with Cheng and her students, to create a game day program for the Juno Hoops charity basketball event. Kelly was impressed by the students’ talent and proposed a collaboration.

“The project was so successful that I approached Ms. Cheng immediately afterward to see if she would be interested in working together on another project,” said Kelly. “She liked the concept and slotted it into her curriculum.”

After two successful collaborations in 2014 and 2015, the partnership has proven to be an excellent resource for OFMEM and valuable experience for students.

“I strongly believe in practicing what we learn in the classroom as it pertains to industry,” said Cheng. “This recognition validates our curriculum and our students’ talent and professionalism, and we will certainly continue to build on this collaboration and expand into more industries.”

This project also included students from DC’s Contemporary Web Design program, who created mock web pages on emergency preparedness. Successful entries were posted on the OFMEM website and YouTube channel, and promoted via Twitter and Facebook.