WSA Launches New Website
This semester the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) launched a redesigned website with the goal of providing students with essential information in a more user-friendly way. The old website, which consisted mainly of blog posts, had not been redesigned for a few years.
“The theme was out of date, everything was pretty unmanageable, and we couldn’t update plug-ins so we were missing out on a lot of new features,” said WSA Information Technology Coordinator Syed Ali ’13. “With the internet, everything changes every few years, so it wasn’t worth staying with our old set-up.”
Over the summer, Ali worked with staff from Information Technology Services (ITS) and WSA President Zachary Malter ’13 to import blog posts and pages from the old website onto the new site. The revamped site features a new homepage with pertinent information for students such as fire safety regulations, a link to register woodframe parties, and a section on student process advisors, who are charged with helping students who are referred to the Student Judicial Board.
“We spoke with a lot of students that had some trouble finding the most essential piece of information on the old website because of the blog format,” Malter said. “It really only captured the most recent developments, which people liked, but there’s some constant things that people need to know, like how to register a student group.”
The new site also features expanded pages for each WSA committee with a description, information on their meeting times, subcommittees, and related projects. These pages also feature a form to contact committee members.
“This whole website is more dynamic and encourages contact more,” Ali said. “We want to encourage people to reach out as much as possible because you can’t really help people unless you know what to do.”
Ali also noted that photos of representatives will let students recognize WSA members around campus.
“I want people to know who their representatives are and if you see someone in the street, you should be able to come up to them,” he said. “It’s about encouraging as much interaction as possible, whether it’s on the street or on the website.”
The site also includes a feature that allows students to submit suggestions and vote on ideas. The WSA intends to update the site with new posts a few times a week, since every WSA member will be authorized to post.
Along with the new website, the WSA also plans to rely more heavily on Facebook and Twitter this year than they have in the past.
“It’s important to have as many outlets to capture as many people as possible because people have their own idiosyncratic habits, and we want every student to feel like they can have access to the WSA without having to go out of their way,” Malter said. “So if people are regular Twitter users, we want people to have the opportunity to learn from us without having to deviate from that.”
In the future, the website and social media may feature video content and more frequent student polls. Malter also said they are considering using the site during future WSA elections and believes that the site will be well received by students and people researching the University.
“I think when people see well-prepared websites from a given institution, they think more highly of that institution because they see that group is putting thought and effort into that activity,” he said. “So I think it will raise favorable feelings towards the WSA and appreciation for the fact that we are trying our best to provide a site online that meets students’ needs.”