Pittsburgh ASDA: Website Shout Out

This is our third installment of Chapter Website features. Pittsburgh ASDA was a natural pick, given their ASDA Journalism Awards success as 2010 Outstanding Website in Competition. They also took home the glory at Annual Session last year for Outstanding Newsletter Improvement.

Their chapter leaders were eager to share some wisdom on all aspects of chapter communications. Thanks to everyone who responded!

Note: highlighting the fine work of Pittsburgh ASDA is not an endorsement of who we expect to win the Super Bowl this Sunday!

What have you done this year to support the continuation of past  successes?

Maria Ferraro, ’12 (Vice-president): PittASDA has been very lucky to have individuals who were perfect for the job. Scott [Santoro, see below] has taken the initiative to really examine our website and improve the areas that were weak.  For example, our photo section was made in a way that was difficult to quickly browse through the photos.  Scott decided to redo the photo page so that our students can easily view photos from events and save them to their own files. He is a master of design.

How did you learn to design and maintain websites?

Scott Santoro, ’13 (Webmaster): I’ve always been a computer nerd at heart–though I’ve never had any formal web design training, I just love tinkering with and figuring out all things computer related.   When I heard about the web design position, I decided it would be a great skill to learn and a fun way to get involved, and have since taught myself much about the world of web design.

Were you involved in the 2009-10 chapter website, which won for Outstanding Website Design?

Scott: I was not directly involved with last year’s maintenance, though I have been working closely with Danny, my predecessor, to ease the transition. I promised him I’d take good care of it, and though it can be a large commitment at times, I have found the work very rewarding.The past awards are a lot to live up to, so I’ve been doing my best to keep the site true to its roots, while adding a few tweaks and additional features I’ve picked up over the years in an attempt to improve on an already great design.

How do you organize and motivate student contributors for your chapter newsletter?

Janel Marcelino ’12, (Newsletter Editor): I find that a lot of the students at Pitt are very self-motivated.  They are very proactive with the events that they plan and they are very proud of their work.  As an editor, I remain vigilant regarding upcoming events.  As soon as I know that something is being formulated, I extend an invitation to the student leader in charge.  Usually, they are more than happy to share their experiences with us through articles.

What are some of your toughest challenges of putting together a chapter newsletter?

Janel: The biggest challenge is finding a balance between what the students want to read and getting all of the important information out.  The best way to find this balance is to constantly keep in mind that although the newsletter is made for Pitt students, it also acts as a reflection of our school and student body to the rest of the dental world.

~Colleen Greene, Harvard ’13, Editor-in-Chief

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