The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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ASUU starts club sites

By Chris Mumford

Students looking for details on Knitting for Newbies events, instructions on how to join Colleges Against Cancer or information on any of the other 232-plus registered student groups on campus might soon be able to find what they’re looking for online.

The Associated Students of the University of Utah’s student group website initiative would enable student groups to create their own web pages, providing information on upcoming events, membership details and group news. This information would be part of a searchable database that students could use to find groups that interest them.

Early cost estimates include $9,000 to get the site started and $3,000 per year to maintain it.

Although early reactions to the initiative from campus groups have been largely positive, some are concerned that they will be limited in what they’ll be able to offer online, and others are concerned that they won’t be able to commit the additional time necessary to maintain a site.

Adrian Wride, president of the U chapter of UNICEF/red, said he’s been working to create a website that could be used to conduct viral marketing, host videos and establish a document database.

“Our goal is to have one of the better, if not the best, student group websites on campus,” said Wride, a senior in history.

However, the ambitious scale of the site is a concern, he said, because hosting offered through ASUU might be too limited, forcing him to consider going through Xmission as an alternative.

“We want kind of a one-stop shop for UNICEF/red and we want it to be as legitimate as possible,” he said.

ASUU Vice President Rachel Rizzo said that group sites should be able to support video and other features. Part of the push behind the initiative, she said, has been dissatisfaction with the sites groups have been using.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some groups, such as the Environmental Action Team, say they are already strapped for time and wouldn’t be able to juggle the additional responsibility of maintaining a website.

“A website would just be another thing to worry about,” said Sam Allen, head of the Environmental Action Team and a grad student in environmental science.

Allen’s team has a Facebook group to organize group activities that he said is sufficient. Others, such as the University Shooting Club, already have a site hosted through the campus recreation site, according to its director, Matthew Delong.

Most groups fall in the middle, though, welcoming the initiative as an effective tool for organizing and communicating with members.

“It’s a lot easier to have people check out a website than spend five minutes talking to them,” said Arian Mohajer, a junior in exercise and sports science who heads Talk. I’ll Listen.

Andrew Voigt, president of the Utah Zimbabwe Maniba Community, said a site could prove useful as the group tries to expand, but only if the sites are easy to create and maintain.
Christine Chachols, president of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship, said that a website would be a great way to increase communication and outreach and also provide information to address misconceptions about her faith.

“A lot of people lump us in with Catholics, but we’re a very different group,” said Chachols, who graduated in audiology last fall.

Hosting will be available sometime near midsemester and will be a free service for groups to utilize as they choose, Rizzo said. Training sessions will be available for those who want to create a site.

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