UR Public Relations is considering installing Webcams across the River Campus, an idea that has already been implemented at many schools across the nation. The installation of Webcams has been in the planning stage since the 2001-2002 school year, and the final details are presently in the works.

Associate Vice President of Public Relations and leader of the Webcam project Robert Kraus said, “Webcams are a growing trend on college campuses. People like them simply because they’re fun. Parents, in particular, can get a look at the campus to watch the weather or just see what’s going on. In fact, we’ve had the occasional inquiry wondering why we don’t [already] have a webcam for the university. I’d also suspect that prospective students would want to use them, in addition to the virtual tour available on our admissions site.”

Images caught by the cameras will be available for viewing through UR’s Web site. Proposed locations for the placement of the cameras include the Interfaith Chapel as well as the top of Wilson Commons.

Public relations first decided to look into the cameras because they would provide entertainment for the UR community.

Through the Interfaith Chapel camera, individuals will be able to see the Eastman Quadrangle at all hours of the day. The Wilson Commons camera will provide an aerial view.

While Webcams have already been installed in many colleges, the proposed UR cameras will have features not common to many other webcam sites. In both cases, the cameras would show real-time movement — not still photos.

Also, with the Interfaith Chapel camera, the viewer will have the ability to zoom in or zoom out from the picture created by the Webcam for a limited amount of time.

Webcams are also a possible source for prospective students to learn more about UR. “Webcams could give parents the chance to see their kids live, as well as allow prospective students to see what the weather’s really like here and not just the pretty brochure photos,” junior Luke Arndt said.

Some students don’t agree that the cameras will be used for academic purposes. “I think a lot of students will enjoy being able to moon the one or two people who happen to be watching at 3 in the morning,” senior Eric Meisner said.

Although the idea of Webcams at UR has received positive feedback from students, the project may still not take place.

“We’re still in the process of nailing down a number of details on this project, so we can’t say quite yet when the Webcams will be up and operating,” Kraus said.

“I believe we’ll ultimately be able to go ahead, but, again, we’re still trying to nail down all of the details for doing so,” he added.

Pal can be reached at spal@campustimes.org.



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