Marshall graphic design student lands meaningful internship in D.C.

Marshall University student Eric Falquero is participating in a summer internship at Street Sense, a newspaper focusing on the homeless, in Washington, D.C.

Thursday, July 1, 2010
Contact: Jaye Ike, College of Fine Arts, 304-696-3296

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A Marshall University student in the College of Fine Arts is using his design skills for good causes after landing a summer internship with a newspaper focusing on the homeless in Washington, D.C.

Eric Falquero, a 21-year-old graphic design senior from Charleston W.Va., said he loves helping people and is happy he found a way to contribute to causes by doing what he loves – graphic design.

“Any good cause needs good design to make it stand out from everything else because we see all kinds of media every minute of every day,” Falquero said.

The biweekly paper at which he is interning, Street Sense, is based out of Washington, D.C., and its mission is to raise public awareness on the issues of homelessness and poverty in the city and to create economic opportunities, according to the website. The paper is sold by vendors who are homeless or close to being homeless.

“Most of the content is written by the vendors that sell it and they write about issues that they face,” Falquero said. “The vendors buy copies of the paper once it is printed for 35 cents a copy and they sell it for a minimum of $1. It provides them a creative outlet and a job where they are pretty much their own bosses because they choose when and where they want to go out.”

He stumbled across the opportunity while searching on the Internet for internships in the D.C. area and it was the first one that caught his attention, Falquero said.

“The internship actually had just been posted two days before I found it,” he said. “So I replied to it and I heard back from them the next day. The more I looked into it, the more interested I was, so I was very excited when they picked me.”

Currently the executive director of Street Sense has been focusing on marketing the paper and increasing the audience, Falquero said. A large part of that is establishing the brand and getting professional looking materials out, as well as a paper that is visually interesting so people want to read it.

“My long-term project for the summer is to redesign the paper, which is what I am the most excited about,” he said. “It will be time intensive and the biggest challenge but I like a challenge. It will be the longest lasting impression that I can leave with the organization, as well.”

Falquero also will be working closely with one of the vendors who puts together the layout for the creative section of the paper where vendors submit poems and photographs, he said

“Right now there is not much design to the creative section and the director feels that there should be more to go along with the rest of the paper and to really highlight a treasure of the paper,” Falquero said. “They want me to get to know the guy and help him with his design skills so that he can do it rather than just handing it off to me.”

Street Sense has about 100 active vendors who sell about 16,000 papers every other week, with the average vendor earning $45 a day, according to the website.

This is not the first cause for which Falquero has contributed his design skill. He also was behind all the creative work for the Empty Bowls campaign this spring. The purpose of this yearly campaign is to raise money for the Huntington Area Food Bank to feed the hungry by selling lunch and bowls made by the ceramic students in the College of Fine Arts.

“The Empty Bowls project was probably the most fulfilling project I worked on as far as anything affiliated with college,” Falquero said. “At first I designed a letterhead and made it on a word document so anyone who needed to use it for stuff affiliated with the campaign. Then from there I found out they wanted a website and I just kind of fell into working on the whole campaign.”