Rachel Crowl, media and web content coordinator, plays a unique and crucial role in the Lawrence community.
Surrounded by a wide array of technological equipment, including computers, cameras and cables, Crowl, an ex-Broadway actor, manages the multiple mediums of Lawrence University’s social media.
Originally from Los Angeles, Crowl moved to New York City, where she fulfilled her career goal as a Broadway artist for many years. Instead of supplementing her income with “stereotypical table waiting,” Crowl said she “worked a day job with the Internet and started building websites in 1994.”
She moved to Wisconsin after her wife, Lecturer of Gender and Freshman Studies Helen Boyd Kramer, was employed here three years ago. Coincidentally, this position opened and Crowl got the job; she has been working at Lawrence for two years since.
Crowl is in charge of all vehicles of social media at Lawrence, from the Facebook page to the school website. Crowl considers herself “a 21st-century working artist” — she produces social media resources that are functional and purposeful but also artistic and creative.
For example, one of the many forms of Lawrence social media is the Lawrence University YouTube channel, home of the “This Is Lawrence” videos. Initially an informal video contest, the current project has grown exponentially since its initiation. Crowl reveals that, “of the 200 videos we’ve uploaded, these are the majority.”
Said Crowl, “I’m currently working with students from the conservatory to create new soundtracks for the videos. If Lawrence is a diamond, then ‘This is Lawrence’ is a facet of that diamond.”
Crowl also firmly believes in social media with “responsive design.” This means that websites or pages can be created to conform to the mediums on which they are viewed. Whether it’s viewed on a large computer screen, a tablet or a phone, this type of website would be easily accessible on any device.
A major component of Crowl’s job includes managing the Lawrence University website. However, this job will only get increasingly intense from now until next summer, since Crowl reveals that “there’s a new website in the works, we’re starting from scratch.”
Actually, the work for this renovation has already started. This project is a complex undertaking; there are many different steps that need to happen before the final launch can occur. Crowl said, “we’ve been working on the underlying technology since the beginning of last summer.”
Crowl definitely stresses the importance of Lawrence community involvement in this transition. First, she plans on involving small groups of people in a discussion process in November to address the needs of the Lawrence website users and any ideas they may have for the new structure.
Then, ideally in February or March, Crowl hopes to open a beta website. This will act as a preliminary version of the website that allows users to access the website, but also reports any problems that might occur.
Crowl says, “My door is always open.” She encourages students to approach her with any ideas or suggestions for Lawrence social media. You can either email her or just stop by her office, Brokaw Hall, room 219.