CSI Outreach and Communications Team co-chair
On October 19th, 2012 the Calumet Stewardship Initiative launched a new website. The new site will help CSI partners communicate with each other and the wider public in ways that increase public awareness of the unique value of the Calumet region and of opportunities for individuals and groups to contribute to regional quality of life.
In 2010, CSI conducted a survey that found members deeply valued the existing website as a place to learn about each others’ organizations and efforts, particularly past events. At the same time, they wanted additional web features that would help them to reach wider audiences with messages about the Calumet area as a region, and, in particular, increase participation in stewardship based activities and events. To this end, CSI has spent the last four months working with Smart Cause Digital, a web development firm that works exclusively with nonprofit organizations, to develop a site that serves these goals. Important features of the site include:
- A member-editable events listing that users can sort by date, activity type, location, and organization; or alternately they can use a monthly calendar view
- Detailed event descriptions that include maps of event locations
- Distinct sections describing the region, CSI and its members (including member profiles), CSI’s work, and the many ways individuals and organizations can get involved
- A members section where CSI teams can share updates and materials that advance their initiatives.
As is typical, the new site is a work in progress. It will only be as good as CSI member organizations make it. In addition to posting events, members can add to photo and video galleries, post regional maps, and keep the news fresh. This process, in addition to improving the content of the website, will make the site easier to find via web search engines. Adding content will be relatively simple because, outside of event postings, all other materials will go through the new webmaster, Mike Siola at the Calumet Environmental Resource Center of Chicago State University. CSI members should watch their e-mails in the next couple weeks for further instructions on contributing content. While a handful of urls will actually get you there, CalumetStewardship.org is the primary address of the site.