UCSB student government recently joined in a business venture with Cal Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo to collaborate on producing items for mass communication and printed publication needs.

Established as an arrangement between Cal Poly University Graphic Systems and A.S., the collaboration was intended as a way to establish a hands-on learning experience for Cal Poly students seeking careers in communication. Plans for the program were first put into place in July 2009 — so by now A.S. has already been contracting Cal Poly’s communication and printing services for several months.

Harvey Levenson, head of the Cal Poly Graphic Communication Dept., said such agreements between the UC and CSU are crucial in order for the state’s academic institutions to sustain each other.

“There is a philosophical premise behind what we’re doing,” Levenson said. “I believe universities should support each other, particularly in the state of California.”

Alicia Cameron, a third-year sales manager for UGS, said Cal Poly’s UGS has been a student-run program since the 1960s and has developed into a well-equipped printing and publishing company over the years.

“It offers print and copy services, business cards, wide format printing, flyers, books, spiral binding, basically anything you can think of,” Cameron said.

According to JudyAnn Dutcher, art director for UCSB’s advertising and marketing program, the partnership is convenient for A.S.’s diverse printing needs — such as notebooks, business cards, brochures and flyers for publicizing various events, services and opportunities.

By offering itself as a client, Dutcher said UCSB allows the college to maintain its applied learning methods.

Furthermore, Levenson said UGS is the only student-run publishing company of its kind in the United States.

“It’s totally unique,” Levenson said. “I don’t think there is any other university in the country with this kind of experiential program for their students. The company has 14 sales managers, one general manager, numerous other workers and the capacity for one to work up in the ranks of the organization.

While the recent deal between the two universities may exude an air of cloistered academia, Dutcher said the relationship is not exclusive because UCSB works with multiples vendors.

“We get bids for our print jobs and include UGS in the bidding process,” Dutcher said. “If UGS is able to provide the service in the time needed, at a good price, we choose them for the job. … When UGS is unable to provide particular services to the UCSB Associated Students and its various projects, the UCSB program resorts to a number of different local and online printers.”