Stanford University

News Service



Scott Stocker, Director of Web Communications, (650) 723-9172,

Relevant Web URLs:

University event calendar launched

University Communications on Thursday announced the launch of Events at Stanford, a comprehensive online public events calendar available at The calendar -- which kicks off its pilot phase with 80 student and staff groups submitting events -- offers one convenient site to find information on university events, student activities, academic department lectures and seminars, performances and more.

"After a lot of hard work by so many individuals, it's exciting to see Events at Stanford become a reality," said Scott Stocker, director of web communications. "It shouldn't take long for this website to become a primary tool for both Stanford community members and visitors to find information about all the exciting activities happening each day across the campus."

A wealth of features

Up to now, there has been no consistent campus-wide system for publicizing the more than 10,000 events that take place at Stanford each year. Stanford Report publishes a weekly calendar -- both in print and online -- and many schools and departments keep their own separate calendars. And, of course, flyers posted across campus advertise activities from study groups to large-scale university events. Nonetheless, "You might not find out what's going on until it's just about to happen, or it's already past," said Elaine Enos, the university's director of public events.

Events at Stanford aims to change that. The full-featured calendar offers several views of current events. Users can view all the events happening on a particular day or choose Featured Events to see a select few. Users may also browse by category -- University Events, Lectures, Performances, Social Events -- making it simple to get information.

"Users can filter down to the activities they're most interested in and not miss out on important activities," said Nanci Howe, assistant dean of students and director of student activities. "And student groups know that they're targeting activities to those most likely to attend."

Students, faculty and staff can log in with their SUNet ID to view Stanford-only events, while users outside the Stanford community will see events intended for the general public only.

A streamlined submission process

Groups seeking to submit events to the calendar must first designate a calendar administrator, who -- after participating in an on-line or in-person training session -- will be able to submit events that have already gone through the space reservation and approval process that is currently in place.

While some groups may be initially concerned that the calendar submission process is difficult or time-consuming, Stocker said entries should take just a few minutes. Groups that have already been submitting events to Stanford Report should find it easier to promote their activities on Events at Stanford, which includes an option for submitting items to the printed calendar in Stanford Report. The use of PRISM to enter events for Stanford Report is being phased out.

Courtney Young, assistant web editor and project manager for the calendar project, noted that the actual process of planning campus events has not changed. "Events at Stanford is a means of publicizing -- not a way to reserve space or get approvals." Only approved events may be entered into the calendar, and only by the designated calendar administrators.

Submitted events are placed in a queue for review by an Events at Stanford calendar editor. Once approved, the event will go live.

A long time coming

After redesigning and launching a new home page environment in late 2002, University Communications took on the task of developing a long-needed events calendar. At the same time, a student group called Innovative Student Information Services, or ISIS, was working on a plan to improve publicity of student activities by installing plasma television screens across campus to promote events. By working together, the two groups were able to marshal support for an integrated solution from across the campus community, getting input from student groups, the Registrar's office, the Office of Student Activities and Stanford Events.

After evaluating several third-party calendaring software packages, the web team at University Communications decided to build the calendar application in-house. "Our goal was to create a site that is highly tailored to the needs of the Stanford community, so we can continue to expand with additional features such as integration with our campus map, room scheduling tools, and the new multimedia displays being developed by ISIS," Stocker said. Once completed, a beta test by events-heavy departments provided valuable feedback. The pilot launch, which began Thursday, includes about 60 student groups and 20 staff groups. Additional groups and departments will be added soon. The ISIS project, meanwhile, is testing plasma screens at several campus locations and expects to roll out a substantial network of screens by October.

Scott Cannon, a graduating senior and ISIS spokesperson, said he was pleased with the results of the collaboration. "It's the first time Stanford students have had a comprehensive source of event information. We're honored to bring students input to help create something so valuable for every member of the Stanford community," he said.

That value extends beyond the boundaries of campus. "Events at Stanford can really help us stay in touch with visitors and neighbors, and enhance our relationship with the surrounding community," Enos said. "Stanford has so much to offer."


By Angela Navarrete

© Stanford University. All Rights Reserved. Stanford, CA 94305. (650) 723-2300. Terms of Use  |  Copyright Complaints