After over a year of preparation, the new and improved Campus Club Connection will launch today. The Web site, which is home to Students’ Association club and organization pages, has been made over in the hopes to launch a more user-friendly model.

The CCC was originally designed by two students in 2002. The Associate Dean of Students, Anne-Marie Algier, has been associated with the CCC from the beginning.

‘At the time, this was cutting edge technology and most schools still used paper to organize and track their student organizations,’ she said. ‘Unfortunately, after these students graduated, we did not have many technological or visual enhancements for a couple of years. CCC was starting to look and feel very dated.’

During the summer of 2008, student feedback initiated the renovation process. The 2008-09 academic year brought some minor adjustments, but the major changes didn’t come despite the availability of computer software into play until this past summer and fall semesters.

SA Senator and sophomore, Bradley Halpern felt the new CCC will offer student organizations more control over the content of their Web page.

‘It’s really flexible. I think the biggest effect is definitely the whole ‘About Us’ customizable page. It can replace groups’ Web sites so they don’t have to worry about having a Webmaster or dealing with IT on all the complicated permission things,’ he commented.

Halpern also stressed that, unlike an independent Web site, a given club’s ‘About Us’ page would require little maintenance and be easy to find through search engines such as Google.

Among the many changes implemented, one of the most prominent new features is improved committee visibility. Director of Wilson Commons Activities Laura Ballou, director of Wilson Commons Activities, points out the significance of this, as it helps integrate groups on campus.

‘Because we have so many student organizations on campus, we’ve really been encouraging and promoting groups that want to form committees underneath a [preexisting] student organization,’ Ballou said. ‘[The] Black Students’ Union is a great example; they have several committees.’

Other changes include the presence of photo galleries and videos, increased document flexibility, improved e-mail and search systems and a ‘My CCC’ feature, which shows the groups that a student is a member or officer.

Clubs’ pages that stem from the SA Web site will also have friendlier URLs with the new CCC. The abbreviated name will appear directly following the standard CCC URL, allowing for easier access.

Ballou feels strongly about the new freedom and benefits of groups customizing their web pages.

‘We want there to be some similarities of what’s offered so that the public can get into a rhythm as to what it sees on the screen,’ she said. ‘But for the middle part of the page, we want groups to have fun. We want groups to be able to showcase what is special about them, what is unique about them.’

The goals of the project were derived from the responses of student focus groups. A common student opinion was to ‘make it easy,’ and the new aspects aim to do just that.

One step toward this goal was integrating the three main pages that make up the Hive – the SA government Web site, the Student Organization Calendar and the CCC.
Halpern stressed the significance of this.

‘I think what was more unique about this idea was to have it be part of a three-part Web site, which was the Hive. (The three Web sites) previously hadn’t been together at all,’ Halpern said.

The new CCC was designed in-house. Although this caused a longer design process, those involved feel that it is now customized to best suit the UR community.

Algier and Ballou have been key players in the manifestation of the changes.

The project was ultimately a joint effort, containing people from various UR departments. Several people from University IT have worked on the project, as well as students, the SA, and Lori Packer, who works in the Communications Office as the University Web-Editor.’

Packer provided feedback throughout the project to ensure that construction of the Web site went smoothly.

The team agrees that continual evolution is necessary for the CCC. ‘We know that Campus Club Connection will never be done, that as students’ needs change and as student organizations or clubs change, we’ll always need to be evolving what we do,’ Ballou said.

‘We want to make sure that our student groups are a prominent part of student life here on campus and we want to make sure that we’re providing the best tools possible to them.’

Ostrander is a member of the class of 2013

*Halpern is a former CT’ senior staff photographer.

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