Wheaton College’s Technology and Finance committee launched a website called WikiWheaton last month, describing it as “a Wikipedia for Wheaton College students.” The committee views the site as an opportunity to create an interface for students seeking information about the Wheaton world.
WikiWheaton combines some of the information found on the official college website, such as an explanation of “B.R.I.D.G.E,” with many of the practical uses for the Wheaton app. It also features humorous articles like “What is a CFA?” and practical guides like a listing of restaurants that deliver to the Wheaton campus.
In addition to launching the website, the Technology and Finance Committee has been tasked with maintaining the Wheaton app. EVP of Technology and Finance Michael Liu described his goal as expanding the functionality of the Wheaton app through a website that provides more information on the events and items found on the app.
After Liu was elected EVP of Technology and Finance, he came up with this idea while trying to improve campus communication, specifically the Wheaton email policy. Seeking to address the frustration clubs experienced in trying to get their message out, Liu looked for an “alternative way” for clubs to have an online presence.
The result was WikiWheaton, which he hopes will become “an interface between clubs and the student body.” Liu aims for it to be particularly helpful to students new to the community trying to get their bearings amongst all of the opportunities available to them.
Students interviewed expressed different opinions on the website, based on their experiences.
Freshman Beck Hofer described the current app as “very good” for some functions, specifically mentioning Who’s Who, but felt that it could have more information. Sophomore Miles Lindholtz described it as “limited,” saying that beyond the meal menu, he never used it. Generally, students interviewed agreed that a more informative app would be helpful, especially if some of the information included the hours of on-campus services, such as Anderson Commons and the Sports and Recreation Complex.
The initiative gives “full autonomy” to clubs to create their own pages and posts to contribute to the website, though the Technology and Finance committee retains the right to censor posts they deem inappropriate.
Though the program has officially launched, Liu says his work remains focused on encouraging clubs to contribute to WikiWheaton. The program allows them to create an account and portfolio as well as original content, he said. A major part of the process has been communicating with on-campus organizations, a push led in part by sophomore and Finance Committee member Mac Daum.
The website was a team project, Liu explained, and committee members Aleks Glavnik, Bobby Teavans and Derek Schlabach worked with Liu on the coding. The website was then “marketed” to a variety of clubs by members of the Finance committee, including Daum, Ben Love and others.
Going forward, Liu envisions students checking WikiWheaton for specific event information instead of searching through past emails. The committee views this as a long-term plan, and Daum considered it as “a project for a future Tech and Finance committee.”