UR recently installed two new Web cams on campus which direct a live feed that can be checked out 24 hours a day at the Web site http://www.rochester.edu/aboutus. One covers the Eastman Quad and one covers the inside of Wilson Commons.

According to Associate Vice President of University Public Relations Robert Kraus, staff members from Public Relations, ITS and Facilities worked together to identify the places on campus that were of greatest interest to those visiting the Web site. They eventually settled on Eastman Quad and Wilson Commons.

“[The Web cams] are in keeping with what other schools do to let applicants, friends and families be able to check in live online on campus life and sons and daughters,” Dean of Students Jody Asbury said.

Very few students know about the cameras, since they are so new, but they are gaining more interest.

“We have Web cams? I haven’t heard anything about them,” senior Emily Call said.

If you log on to the Web site, you have the option of controlling the movement of the cameras for one minute at a time. If someone else is using them at the same time you want to, you are put into a queue until their minute is up.

The Eastman Quad camera, which is situated atop the Interfaith Chapel, has 360 degree rotating capabilities, allowing you to view Rush Rhees Library, the Genesee River and everything in between. It also has eight pre-selected camera angles for one-touch precision, according to the UR Web site.

The Wilson Commons camera, in addition to the ability to see the event banners, Residential Quad and The Pit, has a “Hi Mom!” function, with options for close ups on the fifth floor bridge and fourth floor balcony. With this service, you could arrange a time for a family member or friend to log on, and select the “Hi Mom! Balcony” angle to aim the camera at the balcony, where you would be eagerly waiting with a smile and a wave.

“Parents who are worried about their son or daughterwho has reported being sick, for example, could actually arrange to have them show up on one of the bridges in Wilson at a set time to reassure them that they are alive and kicking,” Asbury said.

Essentially, the main intentions of the cameras right now are just that – to be able to make a visual connection with people in your life who might want to see your face every once in awhile. There are, however, early plans to use the cameras for other purposes.

Admissions counselor and member of the admissions Web team Brendon Troy said that the admissions office has intentions of providing a link off of their Web site to the Web cams. This way, perspective students who are looking at the school could take a mini-tour of campus, and peek in on the daily lives of students here.

According to Kraus, there is also the possibility of establishing cameras to cover sporting events at the UR, since they are not televised. If a parent couldn’t make it to Rochester to watch their son or daughter in a big game, they could just log on and hypothetically check out the “Fauver Cam.”

“There has been brief discussion, nothing official, about putting a Web cam in the Palestra. We did have a field hockey father inquire about Web casting field hockey matches from the Stadium,” Sports Information Director Dennis O’Donnell said.

All discussion involving the future use of the Web cams has been limited. For now, they are solely to be used for communicative and entertainment purposes.

Mittelman can be reached at dmittelman@campustimes.org.



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