UI launches online guide to events

UI launches online guide to events

URBANA – A comprehensive guide to University of Illinois events in Champaign-Urbana and throughout the state is now up at a  website.

The portal at engage.illinois.edu includes, among 900 upcoming events, the movie, "Night of the Living Dead"; a wine party, "Krannert Uncorked"; tours of Japan House; "The Strange Life of Objects: The Art of Annette Lemieux"; a 4-H Air Rifle Workshop; "The Physics of Genes and Why It Matters to You"; and "So You Think You've Heard Ghost Stories."

Steve Sonka, the interim vice chancellor for public engagement, said the UI wanted a cohesive site for all events on campus and through Extension.

The portal requires minimal effort from contributors because it links back to original calendar postings in a plethora of UI units.

Sonka said it took about $120,000 in programmer and developer time to come up with the portal, but it's impossible to count the unpaid effort put in by students, faculty and staff over almost two years.

Even before this week's formal launch, portal entries already receive more than 2,500 visits a month.

"It's a step toward more effective engagement. It's a good step, only one of a continuing effort," Sonka said.

The evolving effort will be discussed at a noon information session Nov. 15 at 505 E. Green St., C. More information is available at engage.illinois.edu/signup.

Program coordinator Shelley Mix said the effort reduces duplication among units at the UI.

"Behind it, there are a lot of events pulled in from Extension or campus calendars. This puts in all in one place and is searchable," she said, giving Halloween events as an example.

To post to the portal, users can employ their original calendar work. Sonka said students monitor the entries "to maintain some human input in it."

"People can enter in events manually, but why do it if there's already a calendar," Mix said.

The portal has support from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Public Engagement, but the Office for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in the College of Education maintains it, a release noted.

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vertigo912 wrote on October 29, 2010 at 9:10 am

Thank you for this informative article. However, it appears that the actual Web address is not referenced anywhere in the article. Could you please link to it via: engagement.illinois.edu

Thank you!

Mike Howie wrote on October 29, 2010 at 9:10 am
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Hi, thanks for the note. Actually the address is in the story but we'd forgotten to make it into a link. That's done now.

vertigo912 wrote on October 29, 2010 at 10:10 am

Excellent, thanks for adding it!

Michael McKelvey wrote on November 03, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I am the webmaster for the Public Engagement Portal. I would like to thank the News-Gazette for helping us announce our project to the community by publishing this article -- we want to let people know how much the University is doing in their community! We hope that if you find our site useful, you will share it with others who might benefit from what the University of Illinois has to offer them!

That being said, I would like to address a few inaccuracies in this article:

  • The Public Engagement Portal is not a comprehensive listing of all events in the state of Illinois; rather, it is intended to be a comprehensive listing of outreach and public engagement events throughout the state of Illinois which are sponsored by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • While there are generally over 900 programs and events publicly available on the Portal at any given time, they are not all taking place "in the next few days." We make available an A-Z List of programs, resources, and events in the Public Engagement Portal (http://engage.illinois.edu/azlist), as well as an Upcoming Events list (http://engage.illinois.edu/filter/UpcomingEvents)
  • If you wish to attend the information session on November 15, please RSVP at the following URL: http://engage.illinois.edu/signup. We request an RSVP due to space limitations.

Once again, thank you to the News-Gazette and to all the community members who have taken an interest in the Public Engagement Portal!