Introducing the New SU Website

The new website aims to enhance convenience for students by storing announcements, events, scheduling information, and the most important links in one space.

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The Student Union (SU) IT department launched a new website for all students to use in early May, featuring links to important forms, schedules, announcements, and a customizable interface. The website was created to deal with the need to access information more quickly and easily from a centralized space, as shown by the website’s simplistic style.

Some links include the Stuyvesant website, early excuse form, health screening form, absence form, and other resources covering upcoming events and the A/B 10-period schedule. The website has also made it possible for visitors to use the Application Programming Interface (API) and pull data about the current period and testing schedule.

Senior and SU IT Assistant Director Willow Veytsman coded a significant part of the website in his free time using a computer programming language called JavaScript. He was inspired by computer science teacher Peter Brooks’s schedule app and the SU emails containing the weekly schedules. Veytsman felt that Brooks’s schedule website could be made more efficient with instant configuration to the current day. “It was nice, but it wouldn’t automatically tell you what’s going on. You had to choose the schedule and everything,” he said.

Veytsman also hoped to centralize scheduling resources provided through SU emails in one place. “I never remembered whether it was an A day or a B day,” he said. “Throughout the week, I would get more emails, and I would always scroll back through my emails, which would always take forever.”

It took a few months for the website to be put together and formally launched because it was intermittently worked on, and its release was also set back. “I actually finished the app a couple of months before it was released, and then most of that time was spent finding someone who would put in the information and getting that email sent out to everyone,” Veytsman said.

Though Veytsman spearheaded this project, he acknowledges that the idea for the website is not original. “I feel like every Stuy student who knows CS at least had the thought that there should be an easier way to access this sort of information, and I know that there were several projects in the past that tried to make it work,” he said.

The website has received generally positive feedback from the student body, particularly regarding its accessibility. “Having everything on one page and keeping it simple is best when I need to quickly check the time or day,” sophomore Lesley Lo said.

Students found certain sections of the website, such as “Quick Links,” to be especially helpful. “I don’t have to go to [the] Stuy website to see what’s happening each day anymore or search up the calendar,” junior Christina Shen said. “It provides easy access to commonly used websites for Stuyvesant students, including Talos.”

The website can be accessed through a computer browser, as well as bookmarked on a phone. “I also have like 69 tabs open, so if you save it to your homescreen, you can just click it. Even if it ruins the aesthetic on my phone, it’s more convenient,” junior Venus Wan said.

Many students enjoy the customization possibilities of the website’s theme, even though it is not a main feature of the website. “The first thing I did was to mess around with a few of the [theme] settings,” junior Keara O’Donnell said.

For regular site visitors, being able to change the website’s color can be an enjoyable feature. “I recently found out that you can change the color, [and] I think that’s my favorite part right now,” Wan said.

On the other hand, some students find the new website unnecessary and inefficient. “I understand why this website was made and understand why other students may find it useful,” freshman Vicki Chen said. “For me, however, I have gone without [it] for a long time now, and using it would be more a hassle than anything. Whether it's an A or B day, I base it on the day before.”

Users had suggestions to improve the visual appeal of the website beyond color theme customization. “I mean add[ing] some graphics or something so it’s not just words,” Shen said.

Given the current improvement goals, creating an app version of the website is not a priority but is still a future possibility. “If we had the chance to, we certainly would because the app would be very useful, just another medium in which we actually carry things out. I certainly do see us maybe exploring that in the future, but at the moment, no,” SU Vice President Ryan Lee said.

In the coming weeks, the website will undergo further development. “As we recently released the website about a month ago, there are still a lot of bugs and a lot of features that we want to add based on feedback and also just brainstorming,” Lee said.