Student view:

Tessa Gebhart: Love is the Force

Feb. 4, 2015

Tessa Gebhart, a senior advertising student from Hart, Michigan, was looking for something to inspire her for the College of Communication Arts and Sciences Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. poster contest when she came across words from the civil rights leader himself that struck a chord.

"It took me a long time to find inspiration for the poster," Gebhart said. "I then came across the Martin Luther King Jr. quote, 'Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend.' The idea of spelling out love with images of my hands hit me."

After a week of voting, the public chose Gebhart’s design as the first-place winner, earning her a $1,000 scholarship.

Participating students were asked to create original poster designs that incorporated aspects of the Civil Rights Movement or the Civil Rights Act, and included an aspect of diversity, inclusiveness, equality, cultural appreciation, liberty or justice. Students also were asked to incorporate MSU in the poster.

"I chose to make this poster about love for a few reasons,” Gebhart said. “I truly believe that loving each other and respecting all races is the only way to actually overcome racial oppression. This may not happen with the current generations, but if we instill this value in our children, the world could see a very different future.

I created the letters for love from reconstructed images of my hands. I thought it was an interesting way to showcase different skin colors on the poster. In order to include MSU, I made the opaque Spartan head for the background and included the 'Spartans Will' phrase from MSU's ongoing campaign along with a phrase that supported the ideas of the poster. The 'Spartans Will' phrase is a very powerful campaign and I would love to see it continue."

Other winners from the 38 submissions included second-place winner Courtney Hughes and third-place winter Jodi Kurniawan. The posters are on display in the first floor hallway of the Communication Arts and Sciences Building and include quotes as to what inspired each student to create the poster they did.

Read more about the poster contest at the CAS website.

Photo by Rachel Tang, journalism student