Alumni, faculty, staff, and students now have the opportunity to publicize everything from book releases to time-shares to members of the University community, thanks to Office of University Relations’ recently debuted online service, WesLink.
Jennifer Jurgen, senior associate of Region Programs and Networks in University Relations, said that WesLink is in part a response to the many alumni who have contacted University Relations, looking for a venue to showcase various events that are not affiliated with the University.
“We’re always hearing from alumni that they want to reach out and do more with students, and it’s just one more way to do that,” Jurgen said.
University Relations collaborated with Information Technology Services (ITS) analyst programmers and other departments for six months to design the WesLink website. Although the site is open to the public, a visitor may make a post only after entering a University username and password.
Once logged in, users are able to advertise non-Wesleyan sponsored events such as plays, concerts and workshops.
Postings are organized primarily by city, enabling users to search for events nearest them. More specific categories, such as “Business Marketing” and “Real Estate & Housing,” are also available. An “Everything Else” option covers posts that do not fit into the other categories.
In addition to providing a name, a description, and relevant details like the date and time of an event, WesLink users may also upload pictures to posts.
University Relations staff members proofread each submitted announcement before it is posted. Barring inappropriate content, users may advertise virtually anything, including concerts, plays, and workshops. Posts expire automatically after 30 days, though users will receive an email one week prior to the expiration date that gives the option of extending the post for another 30 days.
The website was developed using resources from University Relations, resulting in essentially no additional cost to the University.
“We decided that the project was a priority worth putting existing staff resources toward,” Jurgen said. “There were no concrete associated costs with putting WesLink up.”
Though comparisons can be drawn between WesLink and Wesleying, the popular student-run blog that also advertises alumni, faculty, staff, and student events, WesLink focuses solely on non-University-sponsored events and offers users other unique options. Jurgen noted that WesLink allows users to solicit donations and pledges for community service projects, which the Office of University Relations is not able to help with otherwise, as it would conflict with its own fundraising efforts.
Jurgen described WesLink as a way to build the University community regionally.
“Up until now, there hasn’t been a place to put that information,” Jurgen said.
One week after its debut, WesLink had 40 postings. Still, Jurgen said, it is a work in progress and its creators are soliciting feedback. The “About WesLink” page on the website welcomes questions and suggestions.
“Hopefully people will start to use it more and more and go back to it,” she said. “Hopefully it will just continue to gain momentum.”