The official Web site of the UR Students’ Association, “The Hive,” won first place in the recent “America’s Best Student Web Site Competition,” securing national recognition for online presentation.
The annual competition, organized by “Student Leader Magazine,” judges on various criteria, including design, content and interactivity on a five-star scale. “The Hive” scored five stars, the competition’s highest ranking and won the category for student government Web sites.
The site was created by senior Daryl DuLong, along with the SA Senate Public Relations Committee and was launched in March 2000. “I wanted to simplify the process of trying to find things like ACCESS and course descriptions,” DuLong said. “We also found that there was nowhere online to post information about upcoming SA events or announcements. We felt that had to change.”
Three months later, after extensive development and revision, “The Hive” was born. The current site has links to campus resources, allowing visitors to bypass the university Web pages. It also boasts links to several area Web sites such as MyRochester.com where one can find information on events in the Greater Rochester Area. Featuring a unique three column design that “Student Leader” praises for its easy navigation, “The Hive” has surpassed 6,000,000 unique hits since its inception.
“I found out about the competition while thumbing through an issue of “Student Leader” in Wilson Commons. I honestly did not think we’d even make the first cut, so the entry into the contest wasn’t publicized at all,” DuLong said.
“The biggest thrill was unseating the previous number one entrant ? Case Western Reserve University ? who had won the award two years in a row. You can rest assured that we will be entering [the competition] again next year.”
Junior Matthew Schaaf is the current webmaster and has been working on a brand new design for “The Hive” that will be implemented in the coming weeks.
“The new design, while functionally very similar to the current, will make it possible to have more information on the page,” Schaaf said. “I am hoping to develop a closer relationship with various parts of SA to increase the amount of information on the site and make ‘The Hive’ a more useful resource for students. We’re always looking for suggestions on how to make ‘The Hive’ better.”
While “The Hive” has gained recognition from “Student Leader,” it seems few students actually use the site regularly. Most students interviewed did not even know what “The Hive” was.
Many of those who are aware of the site rarely use it. “I never really felt the need to look at it. Maybe I’m just not aware of how useful it might be,” said junior Josh Veazey.
Junior Alan Snyder has used the site once or twice, but not regularly. “I hear it has won a lot of awards, so I guess it’s pretty good. I use it occasionally at CLARC,” Snyder said, “but I wouldn’t even know about it if it weren’t on those computers. If they could find a way for more students to know about it, it would be good.”
There are, however, some students who do use “The Hive” regularly. Sophomore Sarah Rosen has it set as her homepage. “I use it to link to my e-mail, but I do have one complaint. I was using the TV guide linked from ‘The Hive’ and it listed Howard Stern on Channel 58. I put my TV on that channel and [the show] wasn’t on. It was supposed to be E! but it was home shopping and I couldn’t find E! and I was sad,” said Rosen.
In any case, “The Hive”‘s number one ranking by “Student Leader” is testament to the hard work of its creators. Students can navigate to http://sa.rochester.edu to see “The Hive” and read more about its ranking by “Student Leader Magazine.”
Severs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.