From the start, everyone here has been really excited about Localist. It was a much needed upgrade, and Localist connects the Columbia community in new and creative ways.
Will Vautrain, Director of Digital and Online Strategy
Columbia College Chicago was founded in 1890 as the Columbia School of Oratory. Today, Columbia is a bustling campus of 12,000 students and enjoys a reputation as a world leader in arts and communication education. Columbia's reach extends far beyond its South Loop location. All of Chicago is Columbia's campus, laboratory, and playground.
About 2,200 students live in four residence centers. More than 85 student organizations—from the Student Dance Organization to Japanese Anime and Manga—express the diversity, interests, and energy of Columbia College students.
A fast-paced, urban campus with an engaged student body needs an events calendar capable of supporting its vibrant community. Columbia's outdated, bug-prone calendar just wasn't cutting it.
Words used to describe Columbia's old online calendar include, "clunky," "painful," and "cumbersome." The interface was extremely problematic and users encountered issues trying to accomplish basic tasks such as submitting events. Due to the confusing interface, users would receive error messages, or mistakenly enter the same event multiple times. The system didn't even have any kind of web analytics in place, making it hard for administrators to keep track of usage.
With all its problems, it's easy to see why students and staff weren't using Columbia's online calendar. It just couldn't keep pace with the highly mobile student population and its new way of communicating and sharing via smartphones, tablets, and social media.
In response to the calendar software issues, Columbia's web development team explored various calendar options for nearly two years. Several options were considered, including Localist. Columbia had already had some experience with 25Live and Trumba, but neither represented the complete solution with the level of functionality that Columbia was seeking.
The two-year search concluded with Columbia enthusiastically selecting Localist. "When we took a look at Localist versus every other calendar vendor, it was obvious that Localist had completely leapfrogged everyone else out there," said Marc Stevens, Senior Web Developer at Columbia.
Here are a few reasons why Localist stood out as the top calendar choice for Columbia College:
- Localist's elegant interface is easy for both students and staff to use.
- On-the-go students can use Localist's mobile-ready features.
- Google Maps integration displays campus locations and event venues.
- Localist is a hosted solution, allowing Columbia to move data off of its own servers.
- Unlike other options Columbia evaluated, Localist's clean code is easy for search engines to index for maximum SEO value.
- Localist's layered permissions allow students to be added as authenticated users who can post events and enter comments and reviews. For security measures, administrators can review these posts and decide which events go live.
- Columbia's active student body benefits from Localist's integration with social media, including meshing with Facebook events, event attendee lists, and easy Twitter sharing.
- Localist calendars function easily across all major browsers that students commonly use.
- Localist calendars are customizable to fit any university branded design.
- With a dedicated team behind it, Localist is constantly evolving to keep pace with changing technology.
- Localist's API is ready to go, giving Columbia's web team opportunities to expand on Localist's base.
For all of these reasons and more, Localist was the clear choice for Columbia.
Localist's popularity is growing and administrators are seeing users sign up every day. Columbia College is gearing up for the fall semester and looking forward to seeing more benefits from their Localist online calendar. "From the start, everyone here has been really excited about Localist," said Director of Digital and Online Strategy Will Vautrain. "It was a much needed upgrade, and Localist connects the Columbia community in new and creative ways."