By Shannon Allen
As most returning students know, many changes have come to Roanoke College over the summer. They are hard to miss even while just taking a short walk around the campus. These changes include a space for outdoor eating, major progress on the Cregger Center, a new internet server, and the loss of books in the bookstore. However, there is a change that you won’t see strolling around campus, and that is the new Roanoke College website.
The new website went active over the summer, and there was even a launch party held to celebrate. Although the new website is fresh in design, current students are finding it very difficult to use. It seems as if the site is more focused on persuading potential students into thinking that this school has a wonderful campus filled with beautiful people than it is for fitting the needs of the students who have already joined the college community. Essentially, it is an advertisement for admissions with little practical value for those who already attend. It may not be all bad that the new website is designed to bring in new students, as this is essential for small colleges like ours to make themselves seem attractive to high school students to ensure they can stay open. However, that doesn’t mean that the 2,000 or so of us already here do not matter.
Upon first glance it is almost impossible for students to find the link to access MyRoanoke, which is easily the most important tool for keeping students informed academically. Emails were sent out instructing students how to find what they need in a step-by-step process, but after this email was lost in the flood of school emails that came around the same time, students were left helpless to navigate the new website. In order for this website to be functional to students, it should be key that the pages we use on a regular basis are quick and easy to find. Over the summer, when searching for the new bookstore link, I simply typed “bookstore” into the search engine. To my shock, the first hit was not the bookstore, but the Beekeeping Society.
Now, I understand that this website is new and that it is still smoothing out the kinks to create what the Roanoke College community needs. Some changes have already been made, such as the increasing awareness about “Inside Roanoke,” a separate website intended to help students whose needs are within the college rather than from a prospective angle. However, further changes to make easier the transition for current students cannot come fast enough. There is so much potential in this new website, but it still has so far to go before it will be approved by those already on campus.