Graphic Arts Association Connects Students to the Printing Field

The College of Business is home to 20 different RSOs (registered student organizations) which serve to better equip students to grow into professionals. One such organization, the Graphic Arts Association (GAA) exists to immerse Ferris students in the printing industry.

The GAA currently consists of 26 Graphic Media Management students. According to the GAA president, Morgan Goddard, the group is eager to welcome newcomers, including those outside of the Graphic Media Management program.

“Like the printing industry, the GAA is open to expanding and changing to fit the needs of its current members,” said Goddard. “This spring we will be having a large number of our members graduating and because of that, our new e-board is consisted of all freshman and one junior transfer student. I feel that this is going to allow for them to really start from scratch again and change the GAA to fit better into the College of Business. So I would encourage anyone who is looking for an organization to join and wants to have the ability to make some big changes to look into joining the GAA.”

In 1991, the GAA was established as a registered student organization (RSO) for those in the former Printing Management program. In 2012, the Printing Management program became the Graphic Media Management (GMAN) program and was transferred from the College of Engineering Technology to the College of Business.

According to the GAA Orgsync profile, “The Graphic Arts Association (GAA) strives to provide an effective link between the students, the graphic media related program at Ferris State University, and the graphic media industry, including the areas of: Printing, Graphic Design, Advertising, and Marketing.”

Members of the GAA are given the opportunity to step outside the classroom and engage with professionals. They travel throughout the school year to visit businesses related to their fields. They also attend the GraphExpo/Print, a large trade show for the print industry.


According to Goddard, who has gone on at least 12 company tours with the GAA, the trips have helped her determine the type of company she would like to work for and in what capacity she would like to work. The tours have included visits to some of the largest printing companies in the industry as well as companies with less than 100 employees.

“If we do get members from majors like Marketing or Graphic Design, we would love to expand the range of companies that we visit to include ones from those specific industries or even companies who dabble in both industries, which are becoming increasingly commonplace,” said Goddard.

In addition to their commitment to being involved in professional activities, the GAA hosts events so that students interested in printing can get to know one another. Social events for the group have included Easter egg hunts, pumpkin carving, Thanksgiving banquets, Halloween parties, picnics, movie nights, and game nights.

“GAA has helped me learn more about what I enjoy to do and has helped me know the upperclassmen in my major much more,” said Jordan Campbell, a freshman in the group who will be taking over as president in January 2017. “At the beginning of the year, I came in knowing no one except my major instructors and since GAA has started, I know almost everyone and have had a great time getting to know everyone.”

Becoming a member of the GAA involves maintaining a GPA of 2.25 or higher, being in one of the accepted majors (Marketing, Advertising, Graphic Communications, Graphic Media Management, or Graphic Design), and paying dues. Dues—which help fund group activities—cost $25 per semester or $40 for a year.

The GAA meets Tuesdays at 11 a.m. in BUS 204. To learn more about the group, visit their Facebook page or contact their advisor, John Conati.