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Rowan College at Burlington County releases annual report as tarot deck

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During times of uncertainty, turn to the cards.

That’s what Rowan College at Burlington County did with its annual report. Instead of a stuffy paper, the college released its yearly summary in the form of a tarot deck.

The 31-card deck — a reference to the college’s “3+1” degree program — features digital illustrations highlighting the students, faculty, alumni and events that made up the 2020-21 academic year.

In years past, the college’s marketing team has sought to reimagine what an annual report can be. They’ve produced a magazine, a calendar and even a newspaper with a comic strip, but this disruptive year needed a report to match.

“When we started brainstorming ideas for this annual report, we knew we had to think outside the box for many reasons,” RCBC President Michael A. Cioce said in a news release. “It was a pandemic year, for one. But it was also a time during which everyone around us was reflecting on their choices, their lifestyles and their places in the world.”

“We wanted to do something inspiring,” he said. “This deck showcases the myriad ways people from varying backgrounds come together on our campuses to learn, evolve and grow.”

The deck includes cards like “The Apprentices” — the students who make up the college’s Workforce Development and Culinary institutes — and the “The COVID Combatants” — RCBC nursing students who volunteered on the frontlines of the pandemic. Other cards spotlighted graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021, the college’s free tuition program, standout students and distinguished professors.

Using illustrations also helped the college put together a visually interesting report despite having less original photography due to reduced on-campus operations during the pandemic.

“Tarot cards don’t predict your future. They’re not meant to tell your fortune. And they shouldn’t be used to make decisions,” Cioce wrote in the report. “What they can reveal, however, is the possibilities you have depending upon the path you take. We created the RCBC deck to illuminate those possibilities.”

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