Watch out, snakes about: student designs new campus safety poster

Published in the PREVIEW issue

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The snake safety poster designed by Karlyn Major.

The snake safety poster designed by Karlyn Major.

As the mercury rises, so too the number of snake sightings. But safety and respect is the message from Southern Cross University in a new snake information poster designed by media student Karlyn Major.

Live Ideas, an initiative of Southern Cross University, provides real world opportunities for students and staff to work with community partners for mutual benefit. So it was with the snake poster.

Using Live Ideas, a real world brief is found for School of Arts and Social Sciences students completing the unit ‘Caught in the Web’. Last year the brief was to raise awareness and educate staff, students and visitors about potentially dangerous wildlife on Lismore campus, while encouraging coexistence in a peaceful, safe and respectful way. Lecturer Dr Alyssa Simone incorporated the project into a student assessment. The client, SCU Engagement, briefed the class.

Karlyn’s poster received the most likes in a People’s Choice vote.

She said completing a real world project was extremely beneficial.

“Live Ideas projects are exciting because our efforts can potentially be used out there in public. For students it’s an extra motivation and boost to put in more effort to achieve better results,” Karlyn said.

“The poster assessment was engaging and provided the experience of working in a real time situation, including the process of reworking the poster – after I won the competition – to meet the publication requirements.

“The biggest thing I took away from the client briefing was to communicate safety and respect for these reptiles. That’s why I used the first aid style ‘snake procedure’ to convey the important information about safety and snakes.”

Professor Iain Graham, Head of the School of Health and Human Sciences who first approached Live Ideas about commissioning the project, said he was pleased with Karlyn’s poster.

“The need to inform people about public health issues has never been more important. Environmental health issues, lifestyle choices and chronic illnesses are impacting on our lives and health in ways previously unknown of.

“In Australia, the Indigenous people tell us that health and wellbeing come together between human experience and the environment. Snakes are part of that environment so a poster providing such insights to our health and wellbeing is brilliant,” Professor Graham said.

As editor of SCUSM, Karlyn has just published the student magazine's first printed edition.

As editor of SCUSM, Karlyn has just published the student magazine’s first printed edition.

Now in her final year, Karlyn has embraced as many ‘real world’ experiences as possible during her studies: as the 2017 editor of the student magazine SCUSM; an internship at ABC North Coast, including writing stories for online and producing programs; part of the UniPollWatch newsroom of student journalists covering the 2016 federal election; and producing an audio story for the University’s CubeWalk Soundtrail about law student Johanna Byrne.

“I’m a high achiever,” Karlyn said. “I put in 110% into any project. I’ve learnt a lot through all those experiences, which makes me motivated to search out real opportunities to incorporate into my studies.

“The design unit Digital Art & Design II has given me the confidence as SCUSM’s editor to create a printed edition of the student magazine at the start of session 1 and session 2 this year. It’s a great way to grow the online version of the magazine which launched in 2016. I’m aiming to get the processes under control and whoever takes over next year can bring out a printed edition more frequently if they like.”

Karlyn will be returning to ABC North Coast to continue working on a project she started during her internship.

“I’m helping produce an ABC Open diary blog by Cassie Windows, a SCU environmental and marine science student who’s overseas this year volunteering in different roles. She’s now in the Amazon as a research assistant. I’ll also interview Cassie throughout the year when she has internet access and those interviews will air on ABC.”

Karlyn was a property manager before enrolling in media degree at Southern Cross University to pursue her childhood dream of being a journalist.

“I think it is important to follow a career where your interests lie,” she said.

“I have always loved writing and being creative, so I am studying journalism and design. I am enjoying every minute, and can’t wait to graduate and get into the workforce.”

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