Freshman orientation site earns award

Earlier this semester, Butler’s first-year orientation website, programs won an award from the National Orientation Directors Association.

The website was designed by Brandon VanHook, the multimedia specialist for the division of students affairs.

He began working on revamping the website last May.

“The most noticeable change [I made] was to add videos throughout the site, especially on the homepage,” VanHook said. “We also used videos to promote early involvement opportunities like the Ambassadors of Change program.

“I also reorganized and consolidated some of the pages. The navigation was a little intimidating last year. There were a lot of things to click on.

“This year we tried to group information a little differently so people could see what they wanted and click to learn more, versus being overwhelmed with too much information on a single page.”

A “Get to Know BU” section was added to the site. Senior Bryce Gergely, a PuLSE Office employee, did a lot of research to provide content for the new section.

This section includes a brief history of Butler, the “Butler War Song,” fun facts about Butler and a list of campus traditions.

VanHook said he believes that these changes were necessary in making the website more user-friendly and accessible to the incoming class and their families. “We had to step up communication efforts for our largest freshman class ever this year, but we also wanted to reduce our use of paper,” VanHook said. “In the past, we have used flyers and other not-so-’green’ print collateral to promote ‘Welcome Week’ programs, events and opportunities.”

VanHook and his team consolidated the previous print-outs and tagged everything with the orientation site address in an effort to encourage students and families to visit the site for more information.

“The orientation website was really a centralized hub for all information about ‘Welcome Week,’” VanHook said.

According to the NODA website, submissions are judged on content, use of theme, style and practicality.

“Adding multimedia like video and making the site easier to navigate and more ‘user-friendly’ was really important because we want incoming students to feel comfortable at Butler,” VanHook said. “They have enough on their minds without having to stress about where to find information on a website.”

Freshman Ryan Love was grateful for the information provided on the website.

He said it especially helped with his transition of moving from Los Angeles, to Indianapolis.

“Coming to campus from across the country, I had no idea what to expect,” Love said. “I used the freshman orientation website to find information about what to expect during ‘Welcome Week.’”

The website was very accessible, Love said. He said was able to find everything he was looking for with clear headings for different topics.

“The website resembles Butler perfectly in that it lays out clearly how to get involved in a variety of ways,” Love said. “[Having all that information available] definitely got me pumped for my freshman year and fully prepared me for one of the most stressful, yet exciting, weeks of my life.”