BIN Informed?

October 13, 2003

Since the beginning of the fall semester, the student-run Baylor Information Network (BIN) has provided information from news and weather to literature and surveys with the click of a mouse.
The online network consists of a variety of news sources, entertainment links and articles written by staff and students. There also is a calendar, weekly top-10 list, daily survey, virtual market, message board and comprehensive local guide. Through the network, Baylor students and faculty can rate their favorite Waco restaurants, find a church, read movie reviews, check current stock prices and buy and sell items.
"Up-to-the-minute information these days is not just a luxury; it's an expectation," said Brad Pierce, student body internal vice president and a driving force behind the network. "BIN fulfills that expectation by providing information on Baylor and the Waco community. When a group of students is sitting around trying to figure out what to do on any particular evening, we want BIN to be the first thing to which they turn."
The idea for BIN began last spring when Pierce was looking for a program to sell textbooks online. During his search, he contacted members of the University of Oklahoma Student Government who directed him to the Sooner Information Network, a program that offered textbook trading and much more. "I explored their Web site, and I just kept thinking how awesome it would be if we had something like it at Baylor," Pierce said.
Pierce visited the University of Oklahoma last summer to get more information and began developing a blueprint for BIN. Baylor provided the funds for the technical and staffing needs of the network through Student Life and Information Technology Services, which provided $40,000 for the purchase of new computers, software and a server.
"The people who know how to best communicate with students are students," said Randy Woodruff, director of Internet services. As the University seeks to enhance community on campus, he said, there was a growing need for an online component to promote personal interactions. "BIN is just a mechanism for communication. The Internet is part of the landscape. It is where students hang out." 
The BIN system is available to the entire Baylor community, and it is hoped it will help promote interaction and involvement. "We want students, faculty, staff and administration all exchanging ideas and information on the network in the effort to understand one another's needs, ideas and dreams better," Pierce said.