Class project aims to integrate students with local businesses

 Devin Dick, a Tabor College student from Hillsboro, serves during an early round of team four-square. For about three hours last Tuesday evening, the main business intersection in downtown Hillsboro became home for the first Tabor College four-square tournament.

The event, organized by upper-level students Kaitlyn Brown, Molly Clark and Taylor Loewen as part of instructor Derek Hamm?s Graphic Design Practice class, drew about 40 to 50 students to the intersection at Main Street and Grand Avenue.

The goal of the assignment, which involved three student groups, was to develop ways to increase interaction between students and downtown businesses.

Brown, Clark and Loewen received permission from the city council to close the intersection for the evening, they recruited four teams of eight Tabor students each to compete, then assigned each team to a sponsoring business.

The students also created four four-square courts?plus one two-square court for a one-on-one ?to the death? playoff round. They also provided seating for student and community spectators.

The four sponsoring businesses?Emprise Bank, Free Press, Nancy?s Fashions and Quick Flick?set up tables near the courts to promote the merchandise and services they offer students.

 Derek Hamm and several Tabor College students peruse the sample table provided by Nancy?s Fashions, which was one of the goals of the student-driven project. Nancy?s Fashions team won the team challenge, followed by Quick Flick, Free Press and Emprise.

?We had decided to give the trophy to the sponsor, but Nancy turned around and gave it back to the team,? Hamm said. ?Apparently a giant gold dodgeball didn?t fit the aesthetic of her store.?

Hamm was pleased with the way the project turned out, considering its challenging goal.

 Derek Hamm, class instructor, introduces the four-square trophy during pre-tournament introductions as students gather around him. ?The goal of the project was to design an interaction between Tabor students and downtown businesses, and as we went along we realized there?s no silver bullet that solves the issue immediately,? he said.

?It was a relatively small group, but I think it served as a prototype that people could bring their own ideas to in the future.

?In talking with folks downtown, we realized that people are constantly thinking of how to connect others with their businesses. So it?s more about creating a platform for ideas to take shape than trying to solve problems for them.?

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