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Online calendar needs revision

Sarah Mervosh | Thursday, April 16, 2009

Student Senate passed a resolution to reevaluate the University’s online events calendar, currently located at agenda.nd.edu, and discussed specific improvements needed at Wednesday’s meeting.

Campus Technology Chair Walker Anderson said the two primary issues with agenda.nd.edu are its accessibility and aesthetics.

Anderson said the Web site is relatively inaccessible to students because people have to go through Notre Dame’s home page to get to it. Even then, there is only a small link to the calendar at the bottom of the Web site, he said.

“I think your revision is highly needed,” Pasquerilla West senator Megan Carey said.

Carey said she doesn’t know how to get to the calendar directly and can only access it because it pops up in conjunction with another Web site she uses.

Anderson would also like to improve the appearance of the calendar because the current format of agenda.nd.edu is outdated and unappealing.

“This format is called French vanilla,” Anderson said. “It’s aesthetically bland.”

“It looks pretty archaic,” Carey said.

Anderson would also like to improve the University calendar by making it more centralized.

“As of right now there is no one individual responsible for the maintenance of this site,” he said.

Senate also discussed whether the calendar should be solely for campus-wide events that are open to the public, or whether it should also include events only for students.

Assistant vice president for student affairs Brian Coughlin said agenda.nd.edu currently posts events open to the general public because that was a criteria decided by the committee that created the site.

“Anything they were going to put on that calendar was going to be open to the general public,” Coughlin said. “That’s just the public nature of the Notre Dame Web site.”

On the new Web site, Anderson said, “I don’t see why [most student events] couldn’t be promoted publicly.”

Anderson also said the improved Web site could be used for admissions.

“Prospective students will go onto the calendar and see what’s happening around campus and say ‘Oh, that’s cool. Gym Class Heroes is coming to Notre Dame,'” he said. “They can kind of get a taste of student life and what actually occurs.”

Senate also discussed incorporating Google into the improvements for the calendar.

“Maybe by each listing have a button that says ‘subscribe,’ especially if it’s a series or ‘add to my calendar’ if it’s a one time thing,” Anderson said.

Anderson said these revisions will take place well into next year.

“It’s not gong to be instant change because we have to get these different campus entities to start working with each other,” Anderson said. “If we want to do this integrated system then you also have to basically create new systems so that the different calendars can talk to one another.”

In other Senate News:

u Chief of staff Ryan Brellenthin said the Chicago Tribune will increase its price from 35 cents to 85 cents per issue.

Alternatives to subscribing the Chicago Tribune as part of the College Readership Program could be getting a local paper, like the South Bend Tribune, another regional paper, like the Chicago Sun-Times, or using the money that was budgeted for the Chicago Tribune to buy more copies of The New York Times and USA Today.

u Carroll senator Nick Ruof said the committee on residence life will be touring the basement of DeBartalo to determine the viability of installing a food area in the building.