Project Spotlight: Epona Safe Haven
During Fall of 2021, students in Professor Elaine Froelich’s Citizen Designer course partnered with Epona Safe Haven, a non profit organization which aims to aid horses who have gone through the process of horse trade. Owners Julie and Jeff Hetrick informed students of the life of a horse, which was extremely surprising for students, as most were not aware of the very trying process horses endure once their competitive life has come to an end. Most horses at the end of their competitive lives are sent off to kill buyers, who will buy the horse in order to sell it to horse meat companies. Epona Safe Haven is a place trying to change that part of the process, pulling horses out of the kill pens and rescuing those who may be shipped off to kill buyer auctions, giving them a safe haven to take refuge in. They rescue around 40 horses a year from kill pens and gruesome traders by going to auctions and claiming as many horses as they can with money they have in reserves. Money from donors helps to aid the everyday life of the safe haven, buying hay, medicines, and many other things to keep the place running smoothly. Students in the Citizen Designer class designed deliverables for Epona throughout the semester to help them increase their brand awareness and spread the word about their cause.
Students visited Epona Safe Haven in October, getting to see first hand the life on the farm and the horses which lived there. Students got to pet the horses, watch them run around, learn about the barn and get a feel for what Epona is all about. After getting to engage with the horse first hand, students felt inspired and ready to help such a great cause. Building a connection with the safe haven itself gave students more incentive to work hard and deeply care for this cause.
Students primarily worked on creating promotional materials that Epona could use to spread awareness, but also reward and attract donors and volunteers to their Safe Haven. Students created new variations of logos, headers, even designing individual bios for the rescued horses at the safe haven. Students revamped Epona’s social media, created a donor box, and even designed rewards to be given to donors and visitors. Students created physical buttons, stickers, pins, and even a few clay molds of horses.
The experience of working with Epona Safe Haven was rewarding, informative, and something students and Professor Froelich are very proud of. Students were able to get experience of working with a client in the real world, and meeting their needs, while Epona Safe Haven was provided with tons of new items for their cause which could help not only online, but in person as well.