by Andrew Wang
Over the winter break, the University revamped its website, adding many new features with a much more user-friendly interface, officially launching the Phase I of the website redesign project. The project has been going on since July 2016 when the Office of Communications and Marketing revealed that it had begun preliminary meetings for the website redesign project. The website opens up with a unique look which features the title and menus on the left side of the screen with notable news stories regarding Drew’s students and faculty on the right side. A button on the left side toggles the news stories in relation to athletics, Drew Theological School, and campus events. The website is mobile-first and offers flexibility to the visitor.
The University recently earned the EDU Digital Marketing Award, which is an annual award given by the Higher Education Marketing Report. It was recognized for the award due to the Drew “One and All” campaign which was an ambitious fundraising program which raised over $85 million. Money raised during the campaign will pay for student scholarships and internships, new academic programs and the renovation of campus buildings. This campaign enabled Drew to expand its Civic Scholars Program, renovate the Hall of Sciences and Ehinger Center and create the Kean Reading Room. Campaign funds also helped establish 38 scholarships, 16 student research fellowships, 12 internship funds, three faculty fellowships and a junior professorship. In addition, “One And All” added $31 million to Drew’s endowment.
Despite its great success on the campaign website, the Phase I of the renovated website received mixed reviews from the students. In a recent poll on the Drew Class of 2020 Facebook page, 62% of respondents replied that they do not have any opinions for the website, while the rest don’t like the newly structured website. “We have a website?” (Phil Astolfi ’20) or “The website changed?” (Allan Anderson ’17) were most of the responses. “I mean, it looks neat and interesting, but I don’t think it is very functional,” said Jake Levine (’19). Levine added that he is interested and excited to see what changes Phase II will bring to the website. The process to develop Phase II will begin in January and go live on August with additional advancements on content development in regards to the academic departments of Drew.