Student Wins Competition to Design Brilliant, Beautiful and Bold Web Site for Arizona-Based Nonprofit

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Web Design student Julie Finch wins a competition run by Arizona-based visual arts school Sessions College to design a Web site for Girls Rule! Foundation. This is a story about an innovative Arizona-based online school organizing a student competition to help a local non-profit organization spread its teen empowerment message over the Web.

Which design would be the most brilliant, bold, and beautiful of them all? This was the challenge facing student Julie Finch when she enrolled in the Sessions College Summer/Fall design competition for the non-profit client Girls Rule Foundation.

The Girls Rule Foundation (http://www.girlsrulefoundation.org/) is an Arizona non-profit organization founded in 2008 devoted to empowering teenage girls. The organization, with a rapidly growing membership, offers life-changing programs for girls to help them build bright futures, including an annual Shine Brightly Summit and a Brilliant, Beautiful and Bold media campaign.

Like many non-profit organizations, however, Girls Rule Foundation was beginning to feel limited by its Web site and lacked the resources and bandwidth to upgrade it. They needed a Web site that was brilliant, beautiful, and bold too.

Here to help was an online school of design based in Arizona called Sessions College. Sessions College (http://www.sessions.edu/) runs seasonal student design competitions sponsored by leading non-profit organizations. The online contests offer students from all over the world the chance to compete on a pro bono basis to create graphic or Web designs for non-profit clients with real design needs.

In July 2013, Sessions College began a creative collaboration with the Girls Rule Foundation. As the client, Girls Rule Foundation began by defining its needs. According to co-founder Dena Patton: “We were looking for a fresh, creative, fun Web site that communicated our mission, attracted people to join our movement and that would take our organization to the next level.”

Sessions College set up the structure and judges for the competition, which would require students to design templates the entire Web site for the blogging platform Wordpress.

In August and September, the race was on. Twenty students from all over the United States entered the competition. After an initial round, faculty judges whittled down the field to five finalists. On October 23rd, a winner emerged when the Girls Rule! committee selected Associate Degree student Julie Finch's bold and vivid teen magazine-influenced design.

Competition winner Julie Finch is a multimedia specialist who grew up in Park Forest, Illinois. A film/video school grad, Julie is currently studying in the Web Design degree program at Sessions College.

On winning the competition, Julie was ecstatic: "The Sessions College competitions are a wonderful opportunity to do some real world designing for a great cause. Winning the Girls Rule competition is an incredible honor that has given me a great boost of confidence personally and professionally and I am grateful and excited to be involved.”

Girls Rule cofounder Dena Patton was excited about the way in which the site design addressed her organization's main message and addressed the aesthetics of her primary audience of teenage girls and their moms. "We loved that the site was not only clean, but also fun, vibrant, and different -- and bold. We wanted someone who took risks and could help us spread our brilliant, beautiful and bold campaign."

The new Girls Rule site is not yet live; in the next few weeks, Julie and her new client will now work together to implement the final design before launching the site.

And yet, Dena Patton can already see the potential: "The new site will open all kinds of possibilities for Girls Rule Foundation. Because of the fresh look and bold colors and cleaner functionality we are able to really step into this new next level of getting our organization out to the world."

"We understand that girls fulfill their greatest potential by staying on track, dreaming big, and staying in school through college. With a fabulous Web site like this we will now attract the people, the donors, the parents, and the alliances we need to serve and educate more girls."

Sessions College (http://www.sessions.edu) is a fully online accredited school of visual arts located in the Tempe, Arizona. Founded in 1997, Sessions College offers degree and certificate programs in graphic design, Web design, digital media, and more. A pioneer and leader in distance education, Sessions College has graduated students from more than 80 countries around the world.

To find out more about Sessions College Design Competitions, visit http://www.sessions.edu/for-students/competitions, email competition(at)sessions(dot)edu or call 480 212 1704 ext 160.

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Gordon Drummond
Sessions College
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