by Ward Mullens, Published September 13, 2010
YPSILANTI - Finding your way around a new school can be a daunting task, especially if the campus encompasses more than 800 acres and 120 buildings. Add to that several major construction projects, including the two largest classroom buildings, and even a returning senior can become directionally challenged.
To help new and returning students navigate the campus as school starts, Eastern Michigan University has created a way-finding system that can help locate classrooms, parking lots and even faculty and staff.
The Web site can be found at http://www.emich.edu/fall2010/ or accessed directly from www.emich.edu
"Every year we've had a Fall Welcome website, which is targeted toward new students and visitors. That site directs them toward locations, resources, information and orientation programs," said Rhonda DeLong, director of Web communications for EMU. "The situation was different this year. In addition to the unfamiliarity for new students, changes on campus during the summer added dimensions of complexity to way-finding on campus for returning students and faculty as well. The closure of Pray-Harrold and relocation of classrooms and offices was a big part of it, but other changes came into play, too."
The Web site includes targeted information for new EMU students and parents, a printable campus map, an interactive campus map, directions to campus, parking solutions and classroom locations.
The site also helps locate specific departments and faculty from the College and Arts and Sciences, which have vacated Pray-Harrold so that renovation work can begin.
The site (http://livemap.emich.edu/campuslife/) is easy to use. Go to the link or find the link for "Campus Map: Interactive." Once there, you can use the class, person or parking icons to find what you are looking for quickly. Use the pulldown bars to locate classes or type in the name of the person you are trying to find. If you are looking for a person, you will see a similar icon appear on the map where the person's office is located.
"Making all this information available with one click increased its accessibility and made the online navigation experience seamless," DeLong said. "The web creative manager put together an appealing Flash animation to draw attention to this information and make it easy to reach via the EMU home page."