College Calendar Redesigned Posted on January 15th, 2009 by

Gustavus College Calendar

Gustavus College Calendar

Things have been pretty quiet around here lately in part because I have working hard on a monster of a project that has been in the planning for a few years–redoing the College Calendar. One of the oldest, largest, and most important pieces of the Gustavus website, the College Calendar was just rethought, redesigned, reprogrammed, and released.

There are essentially three categories of College Calendar users: people who browse for events and announcements, people who submit items, and people who manage the submitted items. Our main objective was to make the College Calendar easier to use and more enjoyable for each of these three groups.

Since this is such a big change, it would take forever to go into detail about each new feature. Instead, here are some lists of the more significant changes that are worth mentioning.


  • Adding events from the College Calendar to your Google Calendar has never been easier.
  • Subtle, succinct visual representation of when each event is happening will help visitors easily see when events are happening and compare events to prevent possible timing conflicts.
  • Browsing by audience, category, location, sport, or sponsor, will help people find more events that are interesting to them (e.g. items in the worship category, items that take place in Alumni Hall, or items sponsored by Campus Activities Board).
  • Related items on event pages will help visitors find potentially similar events that may be of interest.
  • Visual cues bring focus to current and future events will help visitors find out what is going on right now.


  • The submission form has been entirely revamped to be as smart and easy to use as possible.
  • Suggestions for the “Where” and “Sponsored by” fields have been tailored to include suggestions based on each individual’s prior submissions.
  • The “What,” “When,” and “Sponsored by” fields have a suggest as you type feature.
  • Smart defaults pre-populate the submission form based on each person’s previously submitted events and information that we know from the Gribly (such as name, e-mail address, and phone number).


  • Each user can now see a list of events they have submitted in the past and make changes to them in an automated way.
  • Changes are retained–we hope that this will reduce the need for paper records to be kept.
  • When an event is modified, the owner of the event will now receive an e-mail notification.

Technical information

The new College Calendar marks a milestone in our transition from ColdFusion to PHP. This should allow us to add new features and make small adjustments much more easily.

Additionally, all events are now being served in the hCalendar microformat. We hope that this will help others use our information in novel and useful ways.

What are your thoughts?

We sincerely hope you like all of the changes that we made (we have some new features planned that should make the calendar even more robust and useful). Please take a few moments to play around with the new calendar and let us know what you think or if you have any questions in the comments.

College Calendar



  1. Nick Sonsteby says:

    You guys are awesome! I love the add to Google calendar option.

  2. […] magic is possible because we have been marking up our College Calendar events using the hCalendar microformat since January 2009. Basically, this means that we structure our event information in a standard way that computers […]