|Staffers trained to use Sundial are greeted by this sunny logo when uploading events to the calendar.|
A new Web-based events calendar launched this summer is making Columbia a smaller place. Accessible from the CU homepage, the University Events Calendar -- known colloquially as Sundial, in homage to the timekeeper on College Walk -- makes it easy for anyone to find out what activities are taking place through a simple search function.
"We had heard from many members of the Columbia community that it was hard to find out what was going on around campus," says Lisa Hogarty, vice president of University Student Services, which manages the calendar with Administrative Information Services (AIS). "There clearly was a need for a central, easy-to-use calendar representing all the varied activities taking place on and around campus."
Sundial lists activities and events taking place at the Morningside, Lamont-Doherty and Medical Center campuses, as well as some off-campus events sponsored by a University school. Users can search for events by date, location or type of event. The engine behind the new online calendar is a novel software program developed by a team from Columbia College Information Technology, led by John Grogan, executive director.
"Sundial is extremely flexible and powerful," said Jonathan Markow, assistant vice president of AIS. "As we continue to develop it, we'll be able to offer Columbia groups a number of additional features and enhancements, such as event registration and e-commerce, which will be terrific ways to generate interest in University events."
One benefit of the system is the efficiency of having Columbia groups use the same technology. Not only can Sundial power the main University Events Calendar, but it also is being used on a departmental basis to develop internal calendars. "This new events calendar will serve to highlight the amazing array of activities of our faculty, students, alumni and staff," Hogarty says.
"It's a very flexible tool. I can click on the calendar from the homepage, enter a date range and then browse several categories -- such as athletics, lectures or exhibits -- and then quickly get a sense of what's going on around campus," said Bernie Kluger, a University administrator and Columbia Business School student. "Now I don't feel like I'm missing something exciting."
As the calendar becomes more widely adopted by various campus groups, it is expected to grow in the number of events posted each day. For more info, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.