Problem: The communication system at Valparaiso University is extremely disjointed, one-way, and hierarchical. [url removed, login to view] caters to prospective students and visitors and almost entirely neglects current students. As a result, current students have great difficulty communicating outside of their little circles. I see a better way.
Solution: A virtual space designed specifically for current students encouraging participation, efficient dissemination of information, and most importantly, easier communication.
The website I envision (and have designed on pencil and paper) combines elements of all social media specified for Valpo's campus. Facebook integration can be used to coordinate a student's personal calendar. A 4chan-like anonymous board can be used as a safe space to air whatever needs to be aired. Tumblr integration can be used to connect campus content-wise. A reddit-like voting system can be used by students to vote on proposals, drafted by the students themselves, before being sent off to the elected Student Senate for consideration. Knowing virtual participation precedes local participation, Valpo's sluggish, suppressed culture can be changed. It starts with information, which we have in spades, and a medium, which we don't have...yet
All I need is a builder. That's you. I need someone who knows how to make the infrastructure, pave highways. I'll take care of the traffic. I'll take care of content. I'll take care of everything I can take care of. You take care of the things I can't take care of like site maintenance, layout, technical stuff I don't want to worry about. Shared labor. Shared rights and ownership. Shared success. Individual efforts and individual actions. Individual failures.
Let's talk logistics.
Here's my business plan:
1. Introduce the website to campus. Offer services the student body needs but don't know they need...yet. Things like social media training, a unified calendar with self-publication ability, community directory for student and local businesses, a space for alumni, etc.
2. Create and maintain a crowd for the website. Keep the site evolving.
3. At the end of the year, pull the website. Take it offline entirely.
5. If this experiment is successful, Valpo's administration will come to us looking to buy.
5b. If this experiment is unsuccessful, we have a website model at our disposal to sell to other campuses, go open source, or whatever. Can't make the decision by myself.
More logistics: I bought a domain through bluehost and am currently using wordpress. I have very little idea what I'm doing on the technical side, more of an idea person. I'm learning the tech stuff, but the timeline is working against me. The first day of next school year is August 22. I want to be prepared for the biggest incoming class Valpo has ever seen. I hope I've given you an idea of how I work so if you're curious, let's have a conversation.
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