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New off-campus Web site reviewed

| Wednesday, September 2, 2009

During its first meeting of the school year Tuesday evening, the Council of Representatives (COR) discussed the development of its first Web site especially designed for students living off campus.

Director of External Affairs Gus Gari, who helped to develop the Web site, offcampus.nd.edu, presented it to members of the Council and then asked for them feedback and suggestions for how to advertise the Web site.

The site was created as an extension of the Good Neighbor Guide, the University’s official guide to off-campus living, which was implemented last year.

Jennifer Monahan, executive assistant to the vice president of student affairs, was also on hand to help answer questions associated with the Web site. The Office of Student Affairs backed and funded the creation of the Web site.

“The Web site shows you how to move, live and play off campus,” Gari said. “There is a lot of information and we’re trying to make it as easy for students as possible.”

Safety tips, restaurant guides, tips for reading leases and a section for headlines and events around campus and South Bend are included on the Web site.

“The site tries to help students transitioning off campus,” Gari said. “We tried to cover the process step by step.”

While a large portion of the Web site is aimed specifically at helping Notre Dame students ease their transition to off-campus living, Gari said the site also aims at helping both on and off-campus students use the city of South Bend to their advantage.

“We tried to present the information as catchy a way as possible,” he said. “We are trying to debunk the rumor that it’s South Bend and there’s nothing to do.”

Gari highlighted the section of the Web site devoted to off-campus safety, where he said they try to give students information useful to being both safe and smart when hosting social gatherings.

After the conclusion of the presentation, student body president Grant Schmidt turned to the other members of the council for help with advertising the Web site.

“This Web site is so useful,” he said. “I want to make sure people know where to start [when navigating the Web site].”

Some members of COR suggested advertising the site to different off-campus apartment complexes that house large numbers of Notre Dame students, such as Clover Ridge.

Senior class President Chris Tillett suggested there be some sort of incentive buried in the Web site to encourage students to navigate the various pages of the site.

“We should have a buried discount for a local popular restaurant like Chipotle,” he said.

Another idea popular with the members of the council was to continue to emphasize the name of the Web site, The Off-Campus Connector.

For students wishing to visit the website, its address is www.offcampus.nd.edu