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David Van Scott '06 and Daryl DuLong '03 work on the comprehensive Class of 2008 Web site.

Class of '08 finds a home(page)

The new Class of 2008 Web site was up and running this spring, thanks to David Van Scott '06, a political science major who designed and programmed the site. Van Scott, the designer for both the Class of 2006 and 2007 sites, says that '08 is far more sophisticated and dynamic than sites of previous years.

"Freshmen who visit the site can expect to find everything they need, everything they will want, right there at their fingertips, one or two clicks away," says Van Scott. "They can link to Web mail and e-services, contact at least 13 different University offices, download forms, and even check out the dimensions of dorm rooms. There also are orientation schedules, enrollment forms, daily news updates, and highlights of upcoming student activities--basically all the information a freshman will need before arriving on campus this fall."

Van Scott began designing and programming the site in July 2003 with the assistance of Daryl DuLong '03. Collaborating with several administrative departments, he says the decision was made to launch the site in mid-December so early decision students would have a way to get information and make contact with others.

"I was an early decision student, and I remember feeling like there was no way for me to connect with the University. We wanted to give those students some way to be connected until the enrollment process was complete," Van Scott says.

He and DuLong developed the site using a new programming language so that the site in many ways is self-sufficient and updates itself. Making information accessible, he says, was an essential component of the site design, as well as giving the site its own identity.

"It's important for students to know they're at a University site, but the site should look different from previous years' and from other University pages. It's about creating something unique that each class will feel a sense of ownership of," he adds.

Each class's site is handed over to the class council once students arrive on campus. The council is responsible for maintaining the site. After four years, the site is turned over to the Office of College Advancement, which will maintain it as long as there is a living member of the class.

Since its launch, the '08 site has recorded more that 12,000 hits. Van Scott says he's received great feedback from both students and administrators. This fall, he plans to continue work on the '09 site, one he says he hopes will be even bigger and better.

"It's a learning process every year," the Rochester native admits, "but I have a lot of fun working on it and thinking about all the possibilities. And there's been so much support, especially as the idea has matured. More and more people are supporting the project and beginning to understand that the site can be a portal for students to explore Rochester before they get here."

To check out the Class of '08 site, visit www.rochester.edu/2008.



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