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The Dartmouth
February 22, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Student Assembly's Group Directory centralizes information

The Dartmouth Group Directory, a database organized like Wikipedia that displays information about assorted student groups, was officially launched last Friday. Sponsored by Student Assembly and referred to as DGD, the directory allows students to view information about any group on campus, according to Assembly treasurer Alex Judson '14, who first envisioned the database during an engineering class.

As of Tuesday, 128 pages had been added to the directory. The site has received 1,103 total visits, 826 unique visitors and 7,570 page views, according to Jason Laster '11, one of DGD's creators. The average visitor read 6.86 pages and spent four minutes and 34 seconds on the site, he said.

During his freshman year at the College, Judson said he experienced difficulties finding basic information about campus organizations, such as their executive members or their contact information, and he noticed that there was no single location that aggregated this information. He realized the school needed a "common resource" to solve this problem, he said.

Last year, the Assembly passed legislation to hire students to create an online database that would include student groups' information. The Assembly commissioned two students, Laster and Matthew McNierney '14, to create the directory.

McNierney is a member of The Dartmouth Staff.

Student Body President Suril Kantaria '13 said that the Assembly embraced the idea because of its potential benefits for the student body.

"One of [the Assembly's] roles is to improve student services," Kantaria said. "We felt that this would be a great project to take on."

A DGD prototype was finished during Fall term but was put on hold because Judson was off campus during Winter term. This spring, finishing touches were added to the site to prepare it for launch, Judson said.

The directory is a simple tool that can be used to view information about any group on campus in an organized fashion, according to Laster. Laster and Kantaria both said they hope the database will facilitate collaboration between groups for event planning.

"It's not only a way for students to be informed about the myriad of organizations on campus but also to collaborate with groups across campus," he said. "It reduces the transaction cost of co-hosting events, and it also improves collaboration as a result."

For now, any student can create and add pages for the groups of which they are a part at the College. To prevent students from writing "ridiculous" things on the directory, their names are included on any page they create or edit on the site, Judson said.

Although any student can contribute information to the DGD, the directory is a "utility as opposed to another social network," according to Laster. While there will be some portion of campus "actively adding pages and contributing," most people will use it to "look up something when they need it," he said.

Judson said he is extremely happy with the results of the site so far.

"It's been phenomenal to see how this project's taken off and see how it's gotten momentum," he said.

In the future, Judson said he hopes that the directory will become similar to the Dartmouth Name Directory in its universal use on campus.

"Ideally it'd be something that would become so fundamental or so part of the norm of the Dartmouth community that we just use it all the time," he said.

Xavier Curry '14, who created pages on the Directory for the Dartmouth Aires and Improv to the People, said he had a positive experience working with the site.

"It was very easy to use," Curry said. "The pages are very simple, so it's not like you have to be a programmer to use it."

Curry said that the directory is a good idea because it allows students to view information about every group in the same place. Particularly for new students, it is "a great opportunity to learn about the groups we have on campus," Curry said.