Student websites a hit for ASUU, campus groups

By By Chris Mumford

By Chris Mumford

Since they launched Tuesday, the new student group websites are already drawing high praise.

Students can find information on student groups on the Associated Students of the University of Utah’s website under the “student groups” tab. By clicking on a link titled “Student Groups Management Site,” students will be taken to a directory of the 22 groups that have already signed up and posted some basic information.

“I think it could revolutionize getting the word out and getting information to students,” said Noah Harper, a junior in pre-med biology and president of Benefit El Salvador.

Benefit El Salvador hopes to raise $5,000 for medical supplies to be used in El Salvadoran clinics, according to the group’s new site. Harper said his group hopes to increase its membership by 200 percent this year and that the new student group site will provide a major boost toward that goal. He said having a tool to track and recruit members would be essential to his group’s success.

“This will just be one of the branches of our organization,” Harper said. The ASUU site is relatively new, and Harper said he sees it as an addendum to the group’s blog and a main website that is still running.

Laura Nielson, who heads Knitting for Newbies, a group that knits baby hats for University Hospital newborns, welcomes the new site as a significant improvement over the Facebook page that her group currently uses for recruitment and membership tracking.

“We did have a site on Facebook, but it’s not as effective as this will be because everyone will have access to this one,” said Nielson, a sophomore in pre-nursing.

Harper also said the site can reach students who study on the far-flung reaches of campus and those who don’t come to campus at all.

“Ideally, in the future, anybody in the public will be able to visit our website,” he said.

The student group sites are uniform in color scheme and layout, offering a home page that summarizes events and basic information and separate tabs for blogs, photos, group details, events, documents and links.

So far, group leaders have reported that the interface is simple and easy to use8212;Nielson compared its intuitive controls to Facebook.

“I’m planning on streamlining (the page) to get information to my volunteers and so forth,” she said.

The tools offered through the website will require an additional time investment from members, which could lead some groups to neglect their sites.

“It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the future, just because it’s kind of a passive group,” said Mitchell Smith, a senior in chemical engineering, about the Latter-day Saint Engineering Association.

Smith said, though, that he could see things going the other way, with group members taking enthusiastically to the new tool.

“I think if they wanted, they could,” Smith said. “We’re engineers, so we’re geeky like that.”

The websites cost $9,000 to launch and $3,000 to maintain thereafter, but Ali Ibrahim, vice president of the Interfaith Council, said he believes it’s a worthy investment.

“ASUU will get a lot more involvement from their students,” Ibrahim said.

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