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Students get creative for sun bears

6 Jan 2016

Four University of the Sunshine Coast students travelled to Malaysia recently to help design a brighter future for sun bears in Borneo.

Design students Stacey Goebel, Haijing Li, Kym Franklin and Jana Stadelman completed a 10-day work placement with the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sabah that involved producing a new website and educational materials for the organisation.

This centre provides care and rehabilitation for rescued sun bears, a species listed as vulnerable following a 30 percent drop in its population over the past 30 years.

USC students are also involved in an ongoing project to produce interpretive signage for visitors at the newly opened centre.

Senior Lecturer in Art and Design Kevin Todd said resources like a website and information booklets were crucial for not-for-profit groups like the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre.

“I think the interpretive signage really deepens the experience for a lot of the visitors, because it provides some context for the threats being faced by sun bears,” he said.

“Other students have also produced a 52-page educational booklet in Malay, Chinese and English language, to be used by schools.

“The students’ work will help this small, developing group reach its fundraising goals and, in turn, grow the organisation.

“This is real work for the students, not a university project, and they’ve now got something in their portfolios that they can demonstrate made an impact in the real world.”

The organisation website is now live at and the booklet is available as a PDF download.

— Gen Kennedy

The BSBCC website.

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