Student groups to use new program for creating websites, tracking finances this fall

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo by Samuel Klein | Senior Photo Editor

Anne Graham, program coordinator for the Center for Student Engagement, presents OrgSync to the SA Senate. The new system will help organize student groups by providing financial tools and website design templates.

The Center for Student Engagement is getting ready to implement a more than $100,000 program, giving student organizations the tools to create websites and manage their finances this fall.

Tim Miller, the director of the CSE, said in an interview this month that OrgSync will launch this semester and be fully available to student organizations in the fall.

OrgSync will offer student leaders a one-stop program to make their own websites, send messages to members, keep track of their budgets and request event space around campus.

“We’ve had a homegrown system forever and now we bought an outside system that’s really better on the student side,” Miller said.

The system will make creating a website easier on students, even those who might not be technologically savvy, he said.

OrgSync, a $119,000 system that the SA chipped in $10,000 to purchase in the fall, will construct website templates for student organizations to customize. Student organization leaders used the system this semester to register themselves for next year, Miller said.

“It’s almost like Facebook for student orgs with the way it looks and feels for students,” Miller said.

The SA website, which has not been updated this year, will also get a facelift from OrgSync, SA President Nick Gumas said.

One of Gumas’ goals coming into his presidency was to make the SA website a “central point of contact for a variety of resources available on campus.”

“[Students] don’t realize resources that are available on campus or are vaguely familiar with resources we offer, but don’t necessarily know where to access them or sort of where to learn more about them,” he said.

Gumas had planned to create a website for the SA that was not under GW’s “.edu” domain, but he and other student leaders ultimately decided to keep the SA website at the same address and wait for a redesign, which will now come with OrgSync’s launch. Gumas has worked with administrators throughout the year to fix up the website, and the solution came when GW purchased OrgSync in the fall.

The “Latest News” panel on the website has content that is more than a year old, and many of this year’s senators’ names are not listed on the site.

Gumas and student leaders like Executive Vice President Avra Bossov have compiled a list of resources for students, which explains how they can get in contact with mental health and sexual assault services on campus. But the SA website hasn’t been updated, so the list hasn’t been available online.

Gumas said the SA’s website will be the first OrgSync site to go live, and should be online by the middle of the summer.

Connor Schmidt, the president of College Democrats, said he’s not sure whether next year’s leaders will move the organization’s website from its current home on a WordPress platform to OrgSync, but said he’s glad the system has already cut down on paperwork.

He said the College Democrats’ staff adviser will be able to take on more of a role in troubleshooting for the organization, rather than being “just your paperwork pusher.”

“It is kind of a hassle to find out how much money you have,” Schmidt said. “So OrgSync is definitely going to be good to see your budget in real time.”

Alex Pollock, GW College Republicans’ chairman, said OrgSync makes sure no forms that were previously submitted on paper get lost and are all in one place.

“There’s things that fall through the cracks,” Pollock said. “You forget to do something. They forget to do something, you don’t fill something out properly on paper and then they don’t have it in the system.”

Pollock said the College Republicans had a functioning website until this year when it was hacked, which caused the website to be completely shut down, and OrgSync’s website builder will give the group the ability to regain an online presence outside social media.

Other universities like University of California, Davis, and University of Miami, one of GW’s peer schools, use OrgSync to keep tabs on their student organizations.

Anne Myler, UC Davis’ director of the Center for Student Involvement, said the system has made student organization management more streamlined, centralizing administrative needs like registration and financing.

“We’ve been using [OrgSync] now for a few years,” she said. “We’ve kind of gone beyond 1.0.”

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