make their homes on the Internet
a student 20 megabytes of cyberspace and a few hours' respite
from the rigors of Chicago coursework and get out of the way.
the telephone to the Internet, each generation of Chicago students
has encountered a new form of technology. Most recently, the
digital era has given College undergrads a novel means of self-expression-the
personal home page.
University provides students with free 20 megabytes of digital
space to create their own Web sites. Available since 1995, the
service was initially operated by students. Today, the University's
Networking Services and Information Technology group administers
a central server, which currently supports 2,398 personal Web
pages for students, faculty, and staff. Recent graduates can
maintain their sites up to two quarters after graduation.
are allowed to post almost any content they wish, according
to Therese Nelson, associate director of Campus Networked Information
Services. Most undergraduates create Web sites for pleasure,
revealing interests that range from family photos to everything-you-want-to-know-about-Descartes.
The University does draw the line at money-making ventures,
which threaten its tax-exempt status. For example, Laura Bates,
AB'00, a biology and psychology concentrator, initially sold
handmade dolls from her site but had to move her commercial
page, www.smalldolls.ccom, to a non-University location. She
now has a link to that site from her home page, home.uchicago.edu/~lmbates.
(Students often post links to non-University Web sites, allowing
readers access to more information about personal interests
or hobbies discussed on their home pages.)
from fellow students, Bernice Yin-Jee Man, AB'00, created her
home page, home.uchicago.edu/~byman,
as a way to learn about the Internet. "When I found out that
all U of C students could make their own home page, I thought
I would give it a try. And it seemed like a great way for people
to get to know me without necessarily having to meet me in person,"
says Man, an economics concentrator whose site has prompted
e-mail inquiries from prospective College students.
Voyer, a third-year studying French literature, says he created
his Web page to share his music, which he describes as "melodicfolkrockpop,"
with friends and family.
to show the things that say something about me, that mean something
to me-music and family and so on," says Voyer, who is managing
his site from the University's study-abroad program in France.
"When I first started posting my music, my twin sister who goes
to Cornell was the only regular visitor, but now that I am in
Paris I think my friends and roommates in Chicago may be checking
it out too."
a fourth-year political science concentrator, says her page,
is intended purely to entertain her best friend, who attends
the University of Wisconsin in Madison. "I included things that
interest her-people, books, et cetera, and links-which I thought
she would enjoy. I wanted to create something that would give
her something to giggle at," says Orrico.
leave personal information off their sites, designing home pages
as art. Jesse Mintz-Roth, a fourth-year concentrating in public
policy and geography, uses his page, home.uchicago.edu/~jomintzr,
as a gallery to share his photography with friends from all
over the world. His pictures range from images of radishes in
a Viennese market to a Chicago sunset to friends in Hungary.
a photo gallery Web page is sort of fun. It's not as worrisome
as making a home page because you don't have to worry about
unsolicited viewers seeing private information," says Mintz-Roth.
"If unsolicited viewers see my photos, that's great. In fact,
acquaintances have approached me based on my Web site alone
and asked me to enter entrepreneurial ventures with them as
a Web designer. I've gotten lots of positive feedback on the
pictures as well."
Arash Rebek says designing an interactive page gives him an
artistic thrill. Because he also designs Web sites for private
organizations such as Scripps Research Institute and Personal
Chemistry, he has not recently updated his site, home.uchicago.edu/~aarebek/12index.html,
which features a movie that will change in January.
trust that the information I see on the Internet is factual.
And if you look at my site, there is interaction, but you don't
actually learn that much about me per se," says Rebek, a fundamentals
concentrator who values the Internet less as an information
resource and more as a potential home for art. "I do think that
there are open-minded people who will pause as they do in a
museum when they come across a well-designed site…. Many companies
have sites that would impress even the most haughty artist with
the felicity of their colors or their juxtaposition of text
Brennan, a fourth-year concentrator in the Committee on Visual
Art, views any student's site as a form of self-expression.
"And it seems like there are two ways of doing it. There are
the people who spend a lot of time putting things they've created
online, and then there are the people who make lists of what
they like in terms of music or movies or whatever. But it seems
like either way, the purpose is just to give an idea of yourself
to a broad, completely unknown audience," Brennan says. His
contains a pulsating grid of colors with an e-mail link.
a variety of other students online, visit the home page list
Jennifer N. Leovy, AB'90