Northwestern’s ASG launches new website

Meghan Morris

Over the next year, Associated Student Government technology will undergo a complete overhaul.

Technology vice president Ethan Romba, a McCormick junior, said the current website and services are too archaic, scattered and poorly advertised, so students cannot take advantage of ASG’s various offerings. This quarter, Romba said he will launch a job-posting website similar to Craigslist and then work on redoing the main website in the spring.

Romba said ASG’s server technology was significantly outdated. He spent the summer and Fall Quarter going through 18,000 files online and prepared the website to be archived by the University Library.

“Last summer I did a clean-sweep extravaganza of sorts,” Romba said. “ASG was one of the first groups to approach the archives.”

Weinberg sophomore Joyce Fan said the update is needed. She said she tried to search for student groups last year but found many outdated entries.

“A lot of the presidents’ contact information was from two years ago, and there were some groups listed that don’t exist now,” Fan said. “It would be helpful if they listed all current student groups.”

ASG seeks to clear up this type of confusion by redoing its online services and introducing new initiatives. Romba has built the behind-the-scenes groundwork for JobCat, an online platform that will allow Evanston residents to post temporary jobs and Northwestern students to respond and post their skills.

The jobs can be manual labor such as snow shoveling and leaf raking as well as technical skills including writing or computer programming, Romba said. Laurel Stankus, ASG’s public relations vice president, said this site will help build connections between students and Evanston.

“There are a lot of instances we can mention that strain the Evanston-Northwestern relationship,” the Medill senior said. “Instead of feeling like NU students are encroaching or Evanston residents are out to get students, this will be a healthy way to connect the two communities through needs and wants.”

After JobCat launches, Romba will spend Spring Quarter overhauling ASG’s website to make it more user-friendly for students and campus groups. Currently, the website has no ASG project information listed and little information about finances and how organizations change status.

“The website hasn’t been put to much use in the past,” Romba said. “ASG needs something more dynamic than a blog-style theme.”

The new website will likely include information about ongoing projects, potentially through Twitter feeds for each member of the executive board, Romba said.

“We are the official student government of Northwestern, and everyone should know what we’re up to,” he said.

In addition to redoing the ASG-specific website, Romba said he will change Wildcat Connection, a website that lists student groups but is not frequently updated.

In the future, Romba said groups receiving ASG funding may be required to keep their pages updated.

“People have wonderful ideas for student groups but don’t realize there are student groups already there,” Stankus said. “We need centralized information, as the current website is terrible. It’s clunky and hard to read.”

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