Wesleyan University has recently redesigned their website. What used to be a somewhat modest site with the bare-bones picture and navigation menu is now a ever-changing flash-using rock ballad chock-full of statistics (a la “900 courses, 48 majors” on the opening page), new sections like HEADLINES (is this also a news site?), a huge WESLEYAN at the bottom of the page (in case you forgot where you were), and a streamline of all activity down to the essentials: Give. Apply. Tour.
What does this mean for us as students? Is it just a redesign and nothing more? Are we overreacting? Or does the new image Wesleyan has chosen for itself online influence our own identity as its students? With an average traffic rate of ~89,500 unique visitors a month, it’s at least worth talking about.
are You Wesleyan?
Perhaps the source of our existential crisis is found on the Admissions home page, where a slide show opens to this line. We know it’s geared towards prospective students, but we cant help but ask ourselves… are we Wesleyan? What determines that definition? The rest of this slide show?
Do you contemplate infinity… for the fun of it?
And then more questions show up. Who are these people? You might recognize him or know her, but are they really contemplating infinity? Does she really have a new favorite book every week?
Do you have a new favorite book…every week?
Proposed re-edit: “Do you have a time turner that allows you to have a favorite book every week because otherwise you’ll be too damn busy to read that many books in one week so you can pick a favorite. Good. Cause then you’d be a student at Hogwarts. Surprise, you’re a wizard.”
Do you quote Hume, Hegel, and Homer…Simpson?
With all of the images moving around–showing students playing this African drum, making that t-shirt silk screen, etc.–one has to ask, “have I done any of these things?” You almost feel tempted to go buy a 16mm camera and take snapshots of flowers and graffiti just to have something to develop. “Look, I’m artsy!”
If you were an automobile…would it be a converted hybrid?
The font size on the body text of the site has increased exponentially. Is this for the visually challenged? Or is it just a new design? And about the hybrid comment…
Do neuroscience, dance, and history…seem like a logical combination?
This is getting out of hand.
Do you surf…the library?
“Do you pose for photographs holding tons of books and smiling… for fun?”
Do you find patterns…in complexity?
It’s at this point that the feelings of inadequacy sink in. Maybe we should be cooler? Are all of those “young and impressionable” prefrosh going to come here, having expected the severely multi-talented, multicultural, and multi-awesome students on the site, and be vastly disappointed?
Would you stay up all night…to make friends for life?
Yes. But, let’s be honest. This is college. It’d probably look a little more something like this.
Do you expect to spend your whole life learning?
Have we reached any conclusions? Not really. The site is flashier, more image-based, and yes, it sets up a façade of a place filled with students who are arguably much cooler (or lamer?) than you and I. But, there’s nothing to be done. Enjoy your life as a nobody.