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Bloomington Herald-Times

IU Alumni Association incorporates social media into its website redesign
With focus moving online, IU Alumni magazine to become quarterly publication
By Mike Leonard
July 19, 2011

J T. Forbes acknowledges that companies and organizations launch new websites all the time, and the news of a redesigned site for the Indiana University Alumni Association might not normally garner much attention.

"This is going to be Webzilla -- an information-hungry beast," the IUAA executive director said this week.

"One of the more noteworthy things about the redesign is that it's going to really harness the power of social media to better tell the IU story in terms of variety and diversity," he said.

The site at http://alumni.indiana.edu is set up to not only easily link to the established IU presence on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, but also to create a unique IU social media site through shared information including photos and stories to online promotions and contests.

The site's first competition is "Who Are IU's Most Fashionable People?" and it plays off of alumna and fashionista Jessica Quirk's book (and related blog) titled "What I Wore: Four Seasons, One Closet, Endless Recipes for Personal Style."

Since 2007, Quirk, a former fashion designer, has been posting photos of her daily outfits -- a mixture of retail, vintage, high fashion and her own designs. The IUAA website invites alumna to do the same on a less ambitious scale, asking entrants to submit a photo that incorporates "IU Style." And by style, the idea is not to be outrageous and covered with IU from head-to-toe but, rather, genuinely stylish through the tasteful use of IU colors or themes.

Quirk, who recently moved back to Bloomington from New York, will judge the contest. Finalists will be featured in an IU video and get prizes including IU merchandise and a signed copy of Quirk's book.

The newly designed website will include ongoing Spirit of IU promotions, by which participants can rack up spirit points that can be used to earn prizes, merchandise discounts or spots in photo galleries on the site.

The website is also envisioned to be a communications portal that brings together members of the IU community of all ages and from all campuses. "The nice thing about the social media component is that it allows everyone to see the variety and diversity of the IU experience," Forbes said. "You participate on your own terms through what interests you. Just because you graduated from another campus doesn't mean you can't be a fan of the athletic teams in Bloomington or share in common interests.

"We've got to communicate in ways that inspire people," he went on. "And there's no better way to inspire people than through the voices and opinions of our alumni."

It is anticipated that the site will be big and active enough that the alumni association publications staff will have to divert more time to create and manage the content. To help accommodate that, the IU Alumni magazine will move from a bimonthly publication schedule, or every two months, to quarterly.

The new website was created in a partnership with IU's Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations.

"It's obvious, and we did our research, and it shows that the majority of alumni have meaningful online experiences with publications and other online information gathering, so that was some of the thinking behind moving in this direction," Forbes said. "We want the website to become whatever our alumni want it to be."

"Herman B Wells referred to the 'spirit of IU' drawing him in to a place of unparalleled creativity," said Valerie Pena, associate vice president and chief of staff for the public affairs office.

"Like so many, he felt a deep love for IU. Spirit of IU is our way of making it easier for people to express their love for this university, to connect, to share memories and create new ones through alumni communities," she said in a prepared statement.

IU football switching to 'more traditional' uniform style
By Dustin Dopirak
July 20, 2011, last update: 7/20 @ 10:51 am

The Indiana football team is making another significant uniform change this season, but it hopes this one is the last one for sometime.

Indiana hasn't ever stuck with one uniform style long enough to consider anything "traditional," but according to a press release, the athletic department considers the new look more traditional than last year's style.

Gone are the stripes over the shoulder pads, and contrasting colors on the collar and in splotches on the side of the jersey and the pants. Gone also are the stripes atop the helmet. Back are stripes down the side of the pants.

The result is a jersey-pants combination that is similar to what the Hoosiers wore from 2002 through the 2009 season. The only significant differences will be piping around the shoulders, the Adidas logo will be on the collar below the neck instead of on the shoulder. The helmet, which will feature a white face mask as opposed to the crimson one the Hoosiers had been wearing, will be similar to what the Hoosiers wore from 2002-04.

"It's more traditional, a little more streamlined," IU athletic director Fred Glass said. "I'm really excited. . I think the feeling was it was a cleaner look without the stripes. During the glory years of Coach (Bill) Mallory, there were no stripes on the helmet or on the sleeves either. So it's a cleaner look and more traditional."

The uniform change was put into motion by Adidas, Indiana's uniform sponsor, which was making a change in fabric. The company is using TECHFIT compression technology for uniforms, which cuts down on additional material and weighs 30 percent less than typical uniforms.

"I don't really understand the technical parts of it," Glass said. "But it's lighter weight. It breathes better, they say. It seems like its tighter and there's less material for your opponent to grab onto if you're an offensive lineman or something."

IU is doing away with the PowerWEB pants design, which made for some unseemly striping on the back of the pants. The striping was especially distracting on the road red pants, as it appeared that the players had covered their bottom halves with black electrical tape.

"I was sort of agnostic on the butt tape," Glass said with a laugh. "But a lot of our fans seemed not to be too enamored with it. They'll be pleased to know that it's gone away."

Glass said he will continue to be open to changes in fabric and technology as Adidas continues to work on what he called "their latest and greatest," but he hopes this allows IU to settle on a uniform design.

"I hope that we can make a move from having changes year in and year out by making it cleaner," Glass said. "I'd like to settle in with a look here for a while."

IU Outdoor Pool opens lanes for early morning swimming
By Mike Leonard
July 19, 2011

How hot is it?

It's so hot the Indiana University swim team has suspended practice at the IU Outdoor Pool because the water's too warm -- even at 6 a.m.

That's good news for local recreational swimmers, who now will have all 10 lanes of the pool open during the Monday, Wednesday and Friday lap swimming periods from 6 a.m.-8 a.m.

While the water may be too warm for training competitive swimmers, those early morning hours might be a welcome relief for people swimming for general fitness.

Information is available at http://www.indiana.edu/~iuop/