AIGA student groups step up for immigrants.

Friday, March 1st of 2019 – over one hundred students gathered across three CSU campuses: California State University, Los Angeles; California State University, Long Beach; and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. They were not about to participate in a protest or socially charged march, but they did come together in hopes of making a real change.


A platform of change

Every Adobe Creative Jam highlights a specific Creative Cloud tool the participants should be using to solve the challenge at hand. This time the tool was Adobe XD, a tool for designing, prototyping, and sharing user experiences for web and mobile apps. The challenge was to create an experience that would enhance the quality of life for immigrants.

Rachel Elnar, a Senior Marketing Manager with Creative Jam Enterprise, reflects on the significance of events like these:

“The Creative Jam LIVE event series is important because it provides a new experience to students; by networking and engaging with others, developing a concept and executing a design under pressure (2 hours or less), and working with software tools and features that they are not familiar with. We have found students who’ve taken what they’ve learned to get jobs.”


The Challenge

Adobe Creative Jams encourage multidisciplinary collaborations with students coming from various college career paths, including design, psychology, computer engineering, and a multitude of others. Because design problems should not be reserved solely for designers. This specific Creative Jam challenge involved a mobile product that would better the life of immigrants in the United States, be it finding immigrant-friendly service providers, getting assistance with legal paperwork, or simply forming a community and a support network.

This celebrates the unique diversity of Southern California, the grit of CSU students, and the value of real world applications in pedagogical research in an undergraduate curriculum. Having AIGA as the umbrella organization has connected students who may have never met each other and provided skills, memories, and laughs.”

– Anthony Acock, Cal Poly Pomona AIGA student chapter faculty advisor

As it is never a good idea to solve a problem you don’t fully understand (or have time to investigate), Cal Poly Pomona’s Dr. Alvaro Huerta graciously accepted the role of a keynote speaker and agreed to share his profound expertise in the domains of community, Chicana/o & Latina/o studies, and immigration. Among his many notable accomplishments, Dr. Alvaro Huerta is the lead editor of People of Color in the United States: Contemporary Issues in Education, Work, Communities, Health, and Immigration and the author of the book Reframing the Latino Immigration Debate: Towards a Humanistic Paradigm.

The Jam

Here’s how it all went down…On Friday, 114 students (see the list of all participants): 54 students from Long Beach University, 31 students from Cal Poly Pomona, and 29 students from Cal State LA, were handed out the brief and by the end of the day had to present to their peers and a panel of judges how they plan on tackling the issue at hand. The first day’s panel of judges consisted of: Victor Davila, President of AIGA Orlando, Loryn O’Donnell, President of AIGA Dallas Fort Worth, and Kirsten Nagel from Adobe.

After the first day of the competition, 12 teams (6 from CSU Long Beach, 3 from Cal Poly Pomona, and 3 from CSU Los Angeles) made it through to the finals and got to continue working on their proposed solutions. After a long night of hard work, brainstorming, lively discussions, and relentless yawning, the teams presented to a second panel of judges–William Larsen, Interaction Designer from Google, Zach Hill, Art Director from Toi, and Ashley Vong, Art Director from Adobe,–and the winning teams were announced:

1st Place: Cal Poly Pomona
Kimberly Au
Baykomious Elmagarisy
Victor Lara
Jerrold Leong

2nd Place: Cal State Long Beach
Don Manalo
Emily Duong
Oscar Hernandez Ortega
Chanel Villanueva

3rd Place: Cal State Long Beach
Su Moe
Hector Garcia
Yuji Shiraiwa
Rip Kal
Evan Heenan

The entire event lasted 36 hours, livestreaming from each location of the competing teams, fostering a community environment and a healthy sense of competition among all participants. This Adobe Creative Jam was hosted and sponsored by Adobe and 3 faculty members from CSU universities: Professor Anthony Acock  (Cal Poly Pomona), Professor Sam Anvari (Cal State Long Beach School of Art), and Professor Zachary Vernon (Cal State LA College of Arts and Letters). The Information Technology Support department from the CSU Office of The Chancellor, represented by Kate Miffit, Assistant Director for Innovation, and Michael Berman, Ph.D. , Chief Innovation Officer offered indispensable support and ensured the event ran smoothly.

Although there can only be one winning team, events like these help all of the participants realize the breadth of their reach when it comes to affecting change through design. And with that mindset, they are all walking away with a win.

All photos courtesy of the CSU campuses that participated in the Creative Jam

About Adobe Creative Jams
Adobe Creative Jams is an event series where local thought leaders share a behind-the-scene peek into their processes and projects; meanwhile, teams compete in a tournament that puts their creative skills to the test using Adobe Creative Cloud.
By Ana Zukova
Published March 21, 2019
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