By Emily Blackner
Elm Staff Writer
Restaurant menus, Chestertown events, and campus news are now at students’ fingertips thanks to WCLinks.com, an online tool re-launched Nov. 29.
“WCLinks.com is a place for students, faculty, staff, and community members to access links that connect the student body and the greater Chestertown area,” said senior Katharine Greenlee, who is in charge of the program.
The idea originated with Adam Blitzer of the Class of 2010 “as part of his senior capstone experience,” according to Greenlee. “Blitzer noticed a lack of consumers downtown and felt that business’s advertising methods were out of date.”
WCLinks.com serves to provide a new mode of advertising for the Chestertown area around campus, as well as on campus itself. It is run by Washington College students. Junior Alex Lating got involved through Dr. Dave Marshall’s entrepreneurship class. As the semesters pass, a new class takes over for the old one to keep the website running.
The site features links to information about WC sports teams, services offered on campus like the Ride Board and Career Services, volunteer opportunities, and more. WCLinks also reposts some of the information from campus-wide e-mails that may provide valuable and interesting opportunities for students; this might be helpful for those students who delete such messages hastily. It also contains a sidebar with links to many popular websites like Facebook, Twitter, Miller Library’s website, and Zimbra e-mail so that students can easily access those sites.
“We are encouraging students to set their homepage to the website so they can stay updated on the latest Washington College and Chestertown news,” Lating said, and the inclusion of those links could be a real draw for students.
In order for that to occur, students have to be informed about WCLinks. Students manned a table in Hodson Hall during the lead-up to the website’s launch.
“We have been handing out free pens that have the website on it as well as putting up flyers,” Lating said. Launch week additionally included a raffle.
“We have also extensively advertised on campus through banners and Facebook initiatives,” Greenlee said.
The goal of WCLinks.com is, according to Greenlee, to foster “a strong connection between Chestertown businesses and students at Washington College in order to benefit both sides.”
There are signs that this is working, because the entrepreneurship class received a donation from LuLu’s in Chestertown to help fund this advertising campaign. Testimonials on the website also show that WCLinks.com has been very successful in finding renters for Chestertown properties.
So far, students seem to be enjoying the website as well. “[The feedback] has been positive,” said Greenlee. “Students mostly enjoy the Menu PDFs offered on the site.” Menus available include Procolino’s Pizza, The Fish Whistle, and Jammin’ Jesses in Chestertown, as well as further-away venues like Bay Wolf in Rock Hall and Middletown, Delware’s Sushi Yama.”
Freshman Rachel Myers is pleased with the website.
“At first glance, it seems more in-depth than the actual WC website,” she said. “It makes everything easier to find, since I don’t have to click five different links to find out certain information.”
Greenlee and Lating hope that students will continue to use WCLinks.com.
“The student body is our primary target audience,” Greenlee said. “Making this website their homepage and spreading awareness via ‘word of mouth’ will be very beneficial to the program. Any student who would like to know more about WC Links may talk to me.”
“I think that WC Links will be a great resource for students,” Lating said. “It will give them the ability to find out about events and news going on throughout the campus, as well as the community. It will also allow students to have a better insight as to what is going on with their peers.”