Working in the real world without ever leaving campus

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Director Jeff Sheets (third on right, standing) and students collaborate while creating the Virtual Tour of BYU Campus. This is an example of one of many projects students can get involved with at the Center. (Photo courtesy of Laycock Center for Creative Collaboration.)
Director Jeff Sheets (standing on right) and students collaborate while creating the Virtual Tour of BYU Campus. This is an example of one of many projects students can get involved with at the Center. (Photo courtesy of Laycock Center for Creative Collaboration.)

Located in a spot that rivals Platform 9 3/4 in elusiveness, the Laycock Center for Creative Collaboration is a place to be to gain real world experience.

The Center, housed in the northeast stairwell of the HFAC, takes on many projects headed mainly by students, including the recent Selfie Police, the successful Library of Congress video game and the interactive iPad app for the “Sacred Gifts” exhibit in the Museum of Art.

By way of creative projects, the Center offers an opportunity to sharpen students’ skills outside of the classroom.

“Had I not entered the Laycock Center, my degree as a filmmaker would be extremely limited and my education incomplete,” said Lane Russell, a film major. “My personal perception has changed 180 degrees.”

Demonstrable products add flair to students’ portfolio in a way no other internship — paid or unpaid — can match. Almost all Laycock students would say the required collaboration aspect is the reason the center is so worthwhile.

“Collaboration is the most valuable thing,” said Tim Colvin, an advertising major. “The world works in groups. When people go to school, they get in the crevice of what they are studying, but it is extremely beneficial to get to work with people in other fields to prepare you for the real world.”

A permanent group of 20–30 students comprise the core foundation of the center, with up to 200 students fluctuating in project involvement.

Jeff Sheets is the faculty director of the Center and helps facilitate creativity among students from all disciplines. Sheets believes in the importance of ingenuity, regardless of the field of study.

“It is critical that our modern world creates innovation and creativity,” Sheets said. “We are encouraging all with a creative desire to come and be engaged (in the center).”

However, the Center is more than just another extra-curricular activity. Its reach and influence can even impact future job outlook. Advertising graduate Brock Bolen, now project head at eCommerice, is one of many successful examples.

“I afford it all to Jeff because he gave me the opportunity to communicate properly with people who are not necessarily advertising students,” said Bolen, a former project manager of the Center.

Ranging from music to communications to engineering students, all can find a place in the stimulating hub. No matter the major, the best way to get involved according to the creative directors is to find the Center and just get started with a project.

“I think if you are looking to use your creative ability and your creative lens for a force of good, the center is the place to be,” said  creative director Vanessa Burnett. “The Center is all about creating work that … can change lives in a positive way.”

Visit http://thecenter.byu.edu for more information.

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