Excitement is building as Groundhog week leaps into full swing, and students bundle up in their new sweatshirts. This year, the tickets feature a classic Tolkein quote and a new twist on the branch theme used in previous years. Student Programming at the University of Dallas (SPUD) Publicity Coordinator Stephanie Ogbo spent the final months of the fall semester crafting the design. Ogbo is a senior psychology pre-med major who, despite a heavy course load and applications for medical school, finds the time to design and promote almost every event on campus.
“I’ve always been interested in advertising and I like psychology too. I’m interested in convincing people to try out new things through art,” Ogbo said. “I thought SPUD and publicity would be a great way to dip my toes into that. As a pre-med major, there’s just not enough time to be an art major, so this is a great outlet for those times that I’m stressed out with the science world.”
“Steph is one of the most hardworking members on the board by far,” SPUD Director Stephen Thie said. “Well, definitely in the top 12 board members,” he added jokingly. “She takes everyone’s ideas and then, all of a sudden, makes them better. It takes a special type of person to do that. Ideas that shouldn’t fit together fit together in her head, and it’s amazingly ridiculous.”
For her designs, Ogbo uses a somewhat unconventional process, working mainly with free online design programs rather than the complete Photoshop and Adobe suite. This proves a challenge for her more ambitious designs, but despite these setbacks, she always provides topnotch work, according to her colleagues.
“I’ll use anything I can get my hands on, as long as it looks professional in the end. My work is mostly digital — I used to hand-draw and then scan it, but I’ve stepped up my game and just do it on the computer now,” Ogbo, who even creates her own fonts, said.
“You can kind of tell which flyers and advertisements she’s done, because it all has that signature Steph font — she makes it all up on her own! That’s what’s reflected on the back of the [Groundhog] design. She spends a lot of time to make it look really good,” Catherine Duplant, Assistant Director of Student Activities said.
Working on the Groundhog sweatshirt design was about a two-month process, during which many of Ogbo’s initial designs were presented, debated and vetoed. Andrew Narduzzi, the SPUD Traditions Coordinator, revealed that SPUD initially wanted to steer away from the branch theme, as it had been used for a few years in the past, and so Ogbo’s final design did not enter into the discussion for a while.
“She just did such a phenomenal job with it that it just made absolutely no sense to do anything else,” Narduzzi said. “Steph always elevates the goals of the designs and definitely achieves them. I think from the feedback we’ve gotten already, people are definitely liking the [Groundhog] design.”
Many members of the SPUD board hail Ogbo as one of the best collaborators due to her adaptability, dedication and overall cool-headed nature.
“[She’s] working with a lot of people who have grandiose ideas of what they want their event to be themed like and what they want it to feel like, but don’t necessarily have the ability to put that idea on paper or describe what it is they’re thinking of,” Duplant said. “A lot of directions that are given to publicity in general are phrased as, ‘I want this feel.’ It’s hard as a designer to have that instruction and then no real base to start off. So she’s having to come up with all of this just in her head, and we’re all giving her these obscure ideas. To come up with the designs she comes up with — it’s really impressive.”
Whether she’s working on a flyer for Wine Down Wednesday, a save-the-date for Winter Cotillion or the sweatshirt for Groundhog, Ogbo pours her passion for design and her love of UD into every creation.
“As a freshman and sophomore, I understood how fun things like Groundhog and TGIT were, but just being behind the scenes, being a part of those memories that students will take with them when they leave UD — it gives me a greater appreciation and makes me love it all the more. It’s kind of freaking amazing,” Ogbo said.