ISS addresses candidates’ issues with campus technology

ReAnne Utemark

With technology influencing lives more every day, both sets of Washburn Student Government Association candidates have made it a part of their campaign platforms. Patrick Muenks and Billie Jean Bergmann want to revamp the MyWashburn Web site, create a social networking tool and help student organizations build individual Web sites. Whitney Philippi and Amy Billinger want to put wireless access in the dorms and other buildings on campus.

“The real aspect of where we want to get into the nitty-gritty with Web development for campus is in terms of student life,” said Muenks. “One of the biggest problems is that we have 100 different student organizations … We have no central calendar of any student events or listings.”

Muenks and Bergmann would like to enable student organizations to create their own Web sites through the newly-restored technology director executive staff position. They would also like to help improve MyWashburn, but according to Michael Gunter, Information Systems and Services director, that might not be possible. There is a committee looking into redesigning, which is the main Web page for the academic institution. The redesign would create a new look for the site with new graphics as well as enable easier updating with the use of a Content Management System. The update would allow access from any Internet-enabled cell phone, a better search engine and would clean up “orphan pages.” Gunter wants the Washburn Web site to project a better face and showcase the features Washburn has to offer through more multimedia.

The MyWashburn site is done through a Luminus system and is not something that the university designs. There is an update to the current Luminus system but according to Gunter, the new system isn’t stable yet.

“MyWashburn isn’t going to change soon,” said Gunter. “It is not a traditional type of Web server. Features like the tabs can’t be changed until the entire system is changed underneath.”

Gunter said the updates for the site do not have a set schedule yet but he hoped the changes would happen as soon as possible.

Philippi and Billinger said students want technology in places like the Living Learning Center and the other dorms, but that it is not available yet there or in some of the other buildings on campus.

“A lot of times it can be really inconvenient if a student has to leave their room and go to the lobby to work on their homework, especially if there are a lot of people out there and they can’t focus,” said Billinger. “So, they need to be able to go to their room and work on wireless Internet if they want to.”

Gunter said ISS planned to install wireless Internet in the dorms starting in the fall at the latest, although he said he hoped the process could start sometime in the summer.