Whitman Campus Ecology Website
For my internship, I worked on expanding the Whitman Campus Ecology web site, which is dedicated to explaining and disseminating information about environmental and ecological issues pertaining to Whitman College. The site looks at the variety of organizations and activities on the campus that affect the environment. It is a continuation of Justin Rothboeck’s web site done for his internship this previous semester.
My primary objective for the website was to make it an easily readable and use resource for getting information about Whitman campus environmental activities, opinions, and organizations. I wanted to first focus on the technical side of the site, and make it look professional and informative. This is very important in web design because people are more likely to be able to access and trust information that is readily available and professional looking. My first major goal was to create a good-looking template page, off of which the other pages could be based. This helps form continuity among the pages, provides a set of links that are easy to use and can be accessed from any page, and makes it easier to start each individual page.
To begin with, I transferred the web site files to my computer and imported them into Microsoft FrontPage. I posted them on the personal home page account on the Marcus web server provided by the college. I then looked over the original site and determined that a complete formatting overhaul was in order because the previous method, being relational to the screen size, had not taken into account monitors less than 19 inches. I redesigned the background appearance to be more standardized and used fixed formatting to maintain the appearance of the site regardless of how it was viewed. I drew a new wrapping background pattern in Adobe Photoshop that took up much less screen space and added a “natural green” feel to the site. On top this background I formed an invisible table that would be used to format the text on the page. On the left column I added a links section for easy maneuvering through the different pages. The top section proclaimed “Whitman Campus Ecology”, and had area for each subtopic that would be used.
I looked through each of the topics from the earlier version of the page and decided to modify them slightly to include Campus Operations, Student Proposals and Opinions, Campus Organizations, Curriculum, Conservation Committee, Contact Me, and Home. These allowed for a hierarchical organization of the site. Next, I obtained several seasonal plant pictures from Matt Zimmerman, a student photographer, and used one of them instead of the older pictures of dead, rotting pig carcasses on the home page. I figured this would make it more inviting. To better explain the purpose of the site, I added a short paragraph on the home page so people would have an idea what they were looking at.
After the basic page format and style had been created, adding information was relatively easy. I maintained an up to date blank page that was used as the template for all other new pages. I began adding new links to several of the pages, including some student reports and proposals, different campus organizations like the outhouse, the outdoor program, and the construction information. The remainder of the time was spent making more minor editing changes and making it look at nice as possible. As each update came along, I posted the newest version of the site to my account. The site can currently be viewed at http://people.whitman.edu/~schwagdj/ where you can see the latest version. It should soon have a link to it from the Environmental Studies main page, as soon as that is updated.
For the remainder of the summer, I will continue updating the site as new information comes to my attention. Preferably, this can be continued as an internship project next semester and have more information added to it. Some issues that could be addressed in the future include the landscaping services, physical plant, and Bon Appetit. Environmental concerns and current precautions should be addressed on the web site, or provide links to a separately maintained page. I will provide all necessary files for students wishing to pursue this next year.
In addition to the web site project I attended the Campus Recycling Committee
meetings and writing and distributing the minutes along with Jolene Wong. This
provided valuable insights into campus environmental decision-making and activities.