With the aim of improving the lives of the nearly 12,000 students at Yale, the Office of Student Life launched a new website on Monday that will serve as a central online resource for a wide scope of student services.
According to administrators, students have complained for years that there was no easily accessible online resource hub to find information about services such as housing, course registration and recreation. After meeting with dozens of students from Yale College and the other schools of the University in the last year, administrators in the Office of Student Life concluded that Yale needed not another minor resource, but a large site that could serve as a host for already existing resources.
Liz Quercia, a senior administrative assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Student Life who has been instrumental in the creation of the site, noted that students come to Yale and often feel overwhelmed by the number of websites they have to consult for information.
“They don’t know where to go to find housing information, to schedule a gym class or to fill their prescriptions. This website aggregates that kind of data and directs students to other online resources,” she explained.
Website construction began last April and took just eight weeks. The site’s homepage is composed of nine different cubes with names such as Diversity, Academics and Community Service. Clicking on any cube leads to a page filled with Yale resources fitting that cube — so that the site acts as a middleman between Yale’s already-existing pages and its students.
After quietly launching a “rough draft” of the website in June, administrators solicited the feedback of both professionals and select Yale students. Slight alterations were made over the summer before the official launch this Monday.
Graduate School Dean Lynn Cooley said in an email that the entire project of the site is part of Yale’s initiative to bring together student life services for graduate and undergraduate students. According to Quercia, what makes the site so special is its attempt to bring all of Yale together — a move that can be seen as a step toward achieving University President Peter Salovey’s ultimate vision of a more unified University.
But though the website is operational, there is still work to be done.
Anna Jurkevics GRD ’15 acknowledged the website’s usefulness, but also pointed out that various areas could still be improved.
“One thing that needs to be altered is the ‘Life Work Travel’ link. Way too much stuff is crammed into that link. And I don’t see why the childcare section should be placed next to the dental plan,” she said. “Student Life developers should make a new link dedicated to family resources.”
Secretary and Vice President for Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews said that if more students raise the issue of the need for a family resources page on the site, developers would adjust the site accordingly.
“We really do want students to tell us what is missing so that we can quickly update it,” she explained.
The new site dedicated to student resources is only the beginning of a total revamp of Yale’s sites. According to Goff-Crews, the Office of Public Affairs and Communications is currently working to redesign all the pages on Yale’s domain, which will give students more capabilities. For example, students will be able to register their organizations’ events electronically on an interactive, campus-wide calendar. The new student resources site will either continue to exist on its own or become a part of the larger Yale site reorganization.