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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, June 22, 2024

Preparing for relaunch, TuftsLife faces uncertain future

TuftsLife, a student-run website that centralizes information about campus events, classified advertisements and other pertinent information for students, is offline again after recently returning to full function.

Senior Tony Cannistra explained that in order to reestablish TuftsLife as an important networking website, the team aims to revert the website to an older makeup.

Cannistra and his team are currently working closely with Tufts Technology Services (TTS), which he said has been very helpful, to re-launch the website.

"We're trying to roll back TuftsLife to the version that everybody liked, which is a bit of a process ... I mentioned that we were going to try to bring the 'classic' TuftsLife ... now we're actually doing it," Cannistra told the Daily in an email. "I'm not sure how much longer this will take, [the team] is working closely with the Tufts Technology Services people to make it happen."

Tufts Community Union (TCU) SenateTreasurer Adam Kochman said that he did not know much about the current improvements of the website, other than that they are still in progress. Kochman, a junior, said that the TCU Senate has been giving TuftsLife between $1,400 and $2,300 in yearly funding from 2009-2014.

However, Kochman explained that this year the organization did not ask for money and is not currently receiving TCU funds. He added that when the TuftsLife website is down, students miss out on important services.

“[TuftsLife] is something Tufts is really missing," Kochman said. “Its best quality was that it provided a calendar for events."

In an email to the Daily, TCU President Robert Joseph described how the website has been run by different students since its inception.

"An alum named Mike Vastola (E '11) ran the website for six years while he was at Tufts, and then a girl named Taylor Lentz (LA '13) took it over and redesigned the user interface for her senior design project," Joseph, a senior, said. "Unfortunately, the site declined after that, and now Tony Cannistra, a senior, manages the site, but I'm not sure how much he has or hasn't been working on it.”

After Vastola and Lentz graduated, Cannistra took over the website in spring 2014. At the time, Cannistra told the Daily he hoped to redesign the website in order to strengthen its calendar and restore it to its former prominence in the Tufts community.

According to Cannistra, a technical issue brought the site down in 2014.

"[The research team] didn’t have a hands-on approach to keep it running,” he said.

Cannistra and his team shut down the website again this past week in an effort to transform TuftsLife into the website that Tufts students found so useful and accessible.

Cannistra said that the site was commonly used when he was a first-year. He explained that the fact that TuftsLife was something that students and faculty on campus still thought about provided motivation to re-launch the website. He sees TuftsLife as playing an important role on campus.

“[TuftsLife] always tried to allow people to share events and classified listings to campus," he said. "It is centralized, student run and provides an open platform ... the Facebook system works well, but a centralized system is more valuable.”

Vastola and Cannistra are looking for an underclassman to take on the project after Cannistragraduates this semester.

Since it usually receives fuding, TuftsLife must interact with TCU Senate.

TuftsLife has had a good past relationship with Senate,” Cannistra said.

However, he added that he would welcome more communication between the TCU Senate and TuftsLife.

Cannistra explained that he filled out a form asking for funding from TCU this fall, but that he did not know whether TuftsLife received funding.

Joseph added that the TCU Senate has also been looking into bringing an alternative online calendar to campus, although no decisions have been made yet.

“The student government has been working with the OCL [Office for Campus Life] and the Dean of Student Affairs to look into professional companies offering calendars," Joseph said. "No decisions have been made, and it's unclear if one will be made at all this year."


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