University of South Florida


A graphic with a flamingo that says "Consider Yourself Hugged" from the University of South Florida

USF graphic design and animation students create the ‘Dose of Gratitude’ campaign to thank health care workers and spread joy amid the stresses of COVID-19.

USF launches ‘Dose of Gratitude’ campaign for health care workers

An interdisciplinary team of students and faculty from the USF School of Art and Art History, Zimmerman School of Advertising and Communications and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg Graphic Arts Program have launched the “Dose of Gratitude” campaign. It’s intended to bring smiles and show respect for health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. John Sinnott, chair of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine Department of Internal Medicine

Dr. John Sinnott, chair of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine Department of Internal Medicine

Designs consist of animal species unique to the Florida landscape performing acts of gratitude. The first phase of the campaign features a flamingo surrounded by palm trees with the text, “Consider yourself hugged.” The variety of animals signifies the diverse roles in health care, such as doctors, nurses, paraprofessionals and more.

“The Graphic Arts Program incorporates community activism and social awareness into our curriculum,” said Jennifer Yucus, co-chair of the Verbal & Visual Arts Department at USF St. Petersburg. “Our students are no strangers to the fact that design has the power to do good. We are excited to have the opportunity to provide a moment of light during such a dark time.”

“Dose of Gratitude” signage can be found installed outside USF Health facilities, as well as Tampa General Hospital, Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and AdventHealth. It’s a gift to the community that illustrates the might of students and faculty working together across disciplines and campuses.

“If we can make a hospital worker smile and forget their worries for 20 seconds, that is our goal,” Yucus said.

The creative team is comprised of USF animation students Maria Garcell, Amber Newman and Jack Siambanes, as well as USF graphic arts students Tessa Wilson, Alicia Boyd and Emily Butler. They are supported by Yucus, USF mass communications instructor Kevin Hawley, and USF animation faculty members K-J Mathieson and McArthur Freeman. All of the students involved in this project are graduating seniors.

Dose of Gratitude letter that says: "You’ve probably waved hi. Perhaps in the morning when you were just heading out to work and she was just coming home. Blue scrubs. White shoes. Always a smile but also always kind of tired. And maybe these days, even though you’re working from home, you haven’t seen her that much. Neither has her family. She’s a USF healthcare worker. And while we stay safe at home, she and her colleagues are working every hour they send to battle this deadly virus and those its cursed hand has touched. Next time you happen to see her, make sure you add a thank you. You know her. She’s the hero next door. Thank you to all of our tireless healthcare workers from your friends and family and USF. Go Bulls."

"It's a great experience to not only connect with our university but show gratitude to our community for all the work they're doing in this difficult time,” Boyd said.

Each week, the design team begins with research, reading news stories and social media posts about health care workers at the front line of the pandemic. They then brainstorm messaging, illustrate characters and craft typography, and send their files digitally to the animation students, who manipulate the images to create short videos for social media.

The team is also incorporating additional messages in the social media campaign. Hawley serves as the copywriter, creating the written content for more text-heavy graphics, such as those that offer a heartfelt “thank you” to health care workers.

“Dose of Gratitude” will run through the month of May.

You can keep up with the campaign online by following the USF College of The Arts @TheArtsAtUSF on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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