For the fall 2014 semester, students have said goodbye to the e-mailed list of events formally known as Boxer Briefs. Unfortunately, students have yet to say hello to the new calendar program on the Pacific website.
This semester, the Pacific Calender replaced daily email notifications and paper packets in the University Center new software organizes events on campus with many new features.
“There were a couple reasons why we replaced it,” Assistant Director of Student Activities Pete Erschen said. “One was that the technology that the old news and calendar system was based on is outdated. It was called ColdFusion, and it’s not a technology that is used too often anymore. When it was built, CANS was getting close to 10 years old, and the person who made it from scratch no longer worked here.”
Unlike buying software from a company, building a technology from scratch risks not having a support contract, not having a second party to work with and not having other schools buying it and using it said Erschen.
“They were redoing the whole site anyway, which meant that ColdFusion was going to go away, and at the same time, we were purchasing a new event management system, so it was a good time for the university to look at what to do about the calendar portion of the website,” Erschen said.
This new system makes for a much easier way to find events on campus. The calendar is now organized by combining events into drop categories, such as Athletics, Performing Arts, events for specific clubs and other topics.
One of the most useful features is that, unlike the previous calendar, this one is syncable with a students Google account or their Microsoft Outlook account. All students have to do is subscribe to a specific category in the calendar, copy the link into their subscription in their personal account and it will automatically load new events into their phone or laptop.
It’s also easier for clubs and organizations to post their meeting times and events online.
“You can have both a group and a contact name.” Erschen said. “The old one just gave you the option for a “by” and that was it. Now those are separate fields that allow you to search for different groups, even if there’s different contact people for the events. There is the option to set up recurring events, so if you have an event that’s like a series and is happening on different days, then that can go in the calendar that way. You can attach files, which is useful is there’s a registration form that you need to attach, so the system is a lot more robust than it was before.”
Unfortunately, students aren’t jumping on these new features as much as they should.
“I think one thing is that it’s new,” Erschen said. “I think a lot of people don’t know about those useful features. It’s also not populated with a lot of information right now because it’s new, so in the way we’ve chosen to organize it is not what people are used to. Eventually, hopefully, we’ll be organized in a way that people will see as intuitive and useful. Along with that, the training process for people to approve and review the events as they come through just finished. Now that there’s more people working behind the scenes, it’ll be sure to get the calendar working more proficiently.”
The calendar is organized so students can choose what kind of events they want to learn about. One category called Undergraduate Success is made strictly to get students to know about important dates for their academic career, such as the dates for finals week, the last days to add or drop classes and meal plan changes.
“If you, as a student, are like, ‘I just want to know what the important dates and deadlines are, and that’s it. Don’t bug me with anything else.’ You should be able to do that, because that’s why you’re here,” said Erschen.
That was the main complaint for last year’s Boxer Briefs. There was a lot of different events listed, but only a few applied to each student.
“It’s okay to be a student here and not care about sports, or not care about performing arts. You can’t do everything,” Erschen said. “I’m not saying you shouldn’t be well-rounded and go to an event every now and then, but that doesn’t mean you need to look at the calendar and find it. The idea would be that as many students who want to use it, should use it.”