Greenhouse helps greenhorns cultivate Web sites

Everybody is doing it. Maybe even your grandmother has posted her own Web page complete with photos of her favorite grandchildren and fluffy white cats. Or maybe you think that Javascript is something to read during a coffee commercial. Perhaps you do know a little something about the Web, but you or your student organization is finding it hard to attract others because you’re using outdated programming languages, the Web equivalent of scrawls on a cave wall.

The Greenhouse Project is here to bring you out of the cave and onto the information superhighway. A collaboration between the Kelly Writers House and WXPN, it is open to Penn students who wish to learn the essentials of Web page building either for their own personal growth or for their organization’s. The program provides the necessary tools and resources so students — even those with no prior Web experience — can take advantage of the Web’s capabilities as a tool of communication.

The project gathered for the first time on Jan. 26 in Room 203 of the Writers House. Joe Taylor, the on-line content producer for WXPN and Greenhouse leader, addressed the 17 students who attended. He said that the Web is “another outlet to tell stories to people you haven’t met yet.

“Somebody has already built the tools for you. The question is, What are the best tools for you to communicate your story?”

The group that gathered proposed three Web projects to grow in the Greenhouse Project for the spring semester.

One project was to provide multimedia interaction with some of the archives at the African-American Art Sanctuary at 1801 W. Diamond St. as well as more mundane elements like directions and a calendar.

Another project was a cultural e-zine featuring hypertext poetry, which is essentially interactive magnetic poetry —a crazy hybrid of video games, music videos and poetry with words and boxes dancing across the screen. (See for an example.) The magazine would be geared toward a literary college audience.

The last Web site, in response to the growing Penn community interested in film studies, would create a comprehensive calendar of films showing on campus.

“I think the Greenhouse Web Project has the potential to be a really useful program,” said Rachel Burton (C’01), who is doing her thesis on hypertext poetry and who proposed the e-zine Web page. “A lot of humanities majors, like myself, don’t know much about creating Web pages, but are really interested in learning how to do it.”

The official unveiling of the projects is scheduled for April 18. For more information on the Greenhouse Web Project, visit


Originally published on February 15, 2001