‘Our Green’ provides online College calendar
By Jen Buchholz
Published on Monday, February 9, 2009
"Our Green," a comprehensive online calendar created by students to serve as a hub for student groups and campus organizations, is scheduled to be launched during Winter Carnival weekend, according to the web site's creators.
The web site allows group leaders to create web pages and publicize events from one central web location. Although it is not on one of the College's servers, the web site utilizes the Dartmouth web authentication system to allow students to log in and modify pages.
The current version of the web site, though still in development, features a community news feed and lists of campus groups and events. Once officially launched, Our Green will allow students to electronically RSVP to events, automatically export calendars to iCal on Macintosh computers and create an unlimited number of group web pages. Students can also create calendars tailored to specific interests by subscribing to the event schedules of their choice.
There are 67 groups currently using Our Green, and 40 others have pledged to take advantage of the web site, according to Dmitriy Gutkovich '10, the project's adoption strategist.
"We understand that this will only work if the students and groups stand alongside us," he said. "Even though we are the Our Green team, this is a community effort. We are counting on Dartmouth to make this work."
Group leaders can regulate who can see their web pages by limiting access to students or group members only, according to Mike Edgar '10, who is in charge of the "front end" of the project. The web site's code also makes it impossible for even the site's designers to view private pages.
"We guarantee that we do not snoop in private pages," Gutkovich said.
The freedom to add and modify pages also raises the potential for inappropriate posts, but the creators said they are confident that students will be responsible, especially because every post is attributed to the writer. If offensive content does appear, readers can notify site administrators and they will remove the post, according to project president Jason Laster '11.
The web site creators said they have no intention of replacing BlitzMail.
"There will always be blitz," Laster said. "The problem is that you get a blitz two weeks before an event and then an hour before."
Laster said he believes that Our Green will allow students to keep track of events more efficiently than is possible when events are announced by e-mail, because all groups of interest will be accessible from one web page. This will prevent students from forgetting important announcements and address the limitations of outdated and incomplete e-mail contact lists, according to Laster.
"[Our Green] will help groups reach out to members and plan events," Laster said. "We really think we can change the campus. We really believe in this."
The web site creators expressed appreciation for the administration's support, including that of Dean of the College Tom Crady.
"I have heard a lot of students say that they do not know how to connect to the social life on campus," Crady said in an interview, adding later, "This is good for groups that are interesting, but not so widely known."
Our Green will require significant traffic to be successful, according to Student Body President Molly Bode '09, adding that she believes the web site will help to streamline and centralize event communications.
The idea of an all-encompassing calendar has been discussed for several years, Laster said. Former Student Body President Travis Green '08 considered initiating a similar project last year, but was unsuccessful because of the project's scale, Laster said.
Although the web site is currently being offered free of charge to Dartmouth students, Laster indicated the group may eventually seek to expand it outside of the College for a fee.