Augustana Students Create Websites For Hundreds of Businesses - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Augustana Students Create Websites For Hundreds of Businesses

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Annette Ernst recalls the day hackers brought down the Village of Milan's website was excruciating.

"Pretty much the entire website was down so you can see how devastating that would be," said Ernst.  "It was quite a busy day.  The phones were ringing.  People wanted to know what was going on."

For two years, the Village of Milan debated how to move forward with it's website but then came along Augustana College.

"Seems like a lot of clients that we deal with come to us because they enjoy working with students," said Joe Santucci, President of Augustana's Student Web Guild.

Kept virtually a secret for more than a decade, the web guild has been typing and working together to create hundreds of websites for companies and non-profit organizations across the QCA.

"I think it takes a different type of person.  For them playing Xbox is fun.  For me staring at a screen and looking at code is fun and it's that same level of enjoyment," said Santucci.

Douglas Tschopp has overseen the guild since it's inception in 1998.  He says it's his students that make it all happen, coding and creating websites for dozens of clients keystroke by keystroke.

"We have really geeky discussions in here.  We're like the Big Bang Theory," said Tschopp.  "It's definitely not like an average slice of the pie that you'd find at any school.  The type of students that do something like this, that come in and basically they're running their own business."

Tschopp says the guild has 20 new clients "in-cue" or waiting to have their websites built and at a fraction of market cost.

Ernst says she's happy Milan is giving business to local students.

"It would be a great learning experience for them and we get the best of both worlds; we get people that are professionally trained to do this and we get people that are dedicated to maintaining that site for us which is a big relief," said Ernst.

If you'd like to get in touch with the Student Web Guild, contact Augustana College.