ITS Unveils Event Calendar Project

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Events Calendar System

Yesterday, Director of Communications Nancy Nicely unveiled a “new, comprehensive events calendar.” The calendar, which can be found here, is designed to replace the Event Management System as an advertising service for student events, though EMS will remain for space reservations.

One of the architects of the new calendar, Web Projects Manager Kelly Mueller said that she hopes “for the Campus Calendar [to] be a comprehensive and inclusive of student gatherings,” possibly replacing the Reserved Students Digest. The Daily Gazette will soon be adopting the college’s Calendar system as soon as minor technical difficulties are resolved.

Unlike the old EMS system, the new calendar is designed to advertise events. Users can add pictures, create repeating events, and easily drill down to specific kinds of events, like upcoming sports, the academic calendar, or lectures. The program even offers more advanced options, like custom RSS feeds and the option to download iCal-format calendars.

This calendar has the potential to significantly change how students look for events. In previous years, event organizers had to remember to advertise events in the Daily Gazette, in the Reserved Students Digest, in the Weekly News, and several more publications. With the new system, almost all will be centralized. While many students haven’t had much interaction with the new software, a few have looked it over closely. Andrew Quinton ’08 believes the new system “is much much much better,” as “EMS was not very user-friendly.” Joe Grimm ’08 told the Gazette that he “thinks it will help people find out about events they wouldn’t know about. Particularly if it were someplace memorable.” Juju Lee ’09 also liked the idea, but confided that she would “use it more if it was a part of the dashboard—like a mini-version, at least.”

Some students aren’t completely thrilled with the new system, however. Travis Thieman ’10, an ITS employee, told the Gazette that “the new campus calendar system sounds like an update of the old EMS we were using. It provides no means for individuals to schedule out their own lives, or for clubs to have calendars that would only be visible to their members.” Travis hopes that the college will eventually create an “integrated calendar solution designed for the students,” akin to MeetingMaker (a calendar program used by Swarthmore’s faculty), which could provide these services.

The new calendar is powered by Active Data Calendar which is used at a wide variety of lesser-known schools including Cal State Fullerton, Wartburg College and University of Maryland School of Medicine. The software runs off of Microsoft’s SQL Server 2005 and is considered a Microsoft Certified partner. The decision by Swarthmore to adopt a Microsoft-supported calendar application suggests the College is no longer seriously considering adopting Google Apps.

Miles Skorpen is an employee of ITS. He was not involved in the development of the calendar software.

Andrew Quinton ’08 was previously Managing Editor of the Daily Gazette. He is no longer affiliated with the publication.

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