I was elected to the position of Web Chairman for the UDsnow Club (which later became DelRide SnowCorp) as a Freshman at the University of Delaware. During the election I made it clear that my foremost intention was to create a website where club members could connect with each other. I wanted to build a sense of community that would strengthen member's relationships with the organization and each other. It was important to the Club that the website help encourage member participation and interaction but also serve the purpose of facilitating the rapid dissemination of important club updates. It would need to have an e-commerce storefront for the club's trips and events as well as serve as a marketing tool to entice new members to join by using appealing videos, pictures, and activity updates.
Before becoming DelRide’s Web Chair my previous experience was developing websites using HTML and CSS, but I recognized that I would have to utilize advanced web programming techniques like PHP and database scripting in order to create the community network I envisioned. I began studying how to design and develop online communities and immediately became attracted to the power and flexibility that content management systems provided for handling complex relationships amongst large amounts of data.
Using the Drupal CMS framework I provided club members with the ability to create user profiles, share photos with each other, register and pay for events electronically, and participate in club discussions. I built an interactive calendar for displaying important club information (meetings, trips, social events, etc.), created image galleries to showcase member pictures, and launched a messaging system to allow club members to easily connect with each other. I even built from scratch a complex tool that allowed people to create and join carpools with fellow members headed to local resorts so members could easily find people to ski and ride with.
Almost immediately after the website was launched the club started to see a positive impact on member engagement. The facilitation of online interaction outside of club-sponsored events strengthened the organization's fellowship, which in turn resulted in improved event attendance and increased member sign-ups. Existing members who may have felt isolated before were now more comfortable participating in social events, and keeping up with club affairs became much easier. Introducing online event registration and credit card processing improved the ease of running and joining club events. Club membership surged from around 40 to over 160 members, and the year after the launch of the new website we expanded to include nearby colleges in our club outings. After two years as Web Chair I was elected to President, but I continued to be closely involved in the enhancement of the site's features even after I graduated.
During my time with DelRide SnowCorp I also performed the majority of branding, marketing, merchandise design and logo design work for the club.