Student organizations will adopt a new platform to communicate with members and organize information next academic year.
OrgSync, an online management system, merged with another management company in 2016 to create Campus Labs Engage, which student groups will begin using in mid-August, according to an email sent to student organization leaders on May 2. Officials said the platform will introduce new management capabilities, like election forums and ranked-choice voting, and allow students to track their involvement in organizations in a portfolio.
“This new platform combines the strengths of both systems as the largest providers of online community management systems into a more comprehensive program,” Anne Graham, the assistant director of student involvement and Greek life, said in an email.
The student engagement website states that the platform will maintain all of OrgSync’s features, like finance management and member roster access, except for a “website builder tool” that less than 10 percent of student organizations use. Graham said Engage will offer new technology, like mobile check-in at student organization events, online elections for organizations’ executive board positions and ranked-choice voting for Student Association elections.
“Although the layout will look different, Engage will retain nearly all of the OrgSync tools to which organizations have become accustomed,” she said.
The SA Senate voted last academic year to implement ranked-choice voting during this past SA election cycle but delayed its implementation to next academic year because the organization did not have the technology to use the voting method.
Graham said officials conducted “extensive research” into other online student organization management systems but decided Engage met “the needs of our student community.” She said all universities using OrgSync or Campus Labs, another online management system, must switch to Engage by August.
Five of GW’s 12 peer schools – Boston, Northeastern, Tulane and Syracuse universities and the University of Miami – currently use OrgSync to manage student organizations. New York and Wake Forest universities and the universities of Rochester, Pittsburgh and Southern California use Engage, and Georgetown University uses Campus Labs.
Some student leaders said the switch to Engage will have little impact on their organizations, but others said the new features will create a more user-friendly system and offer helpful management tools.
SA President SJ Matthews said the SA plans to collaborate with Graham to create a presentation for student organization leaders to understand how to use the new system. She said Engage will incorporate all of the same functions as OrgSync, like managing member lists and requesting budgets, in addition to new capabilities, like allowing student organizations to hold online internal elections. Student organizations previously held elections using paper ballots, she said.
“The switch to Engage shouldn’t impact student organizations negatively,” Matthews said in an email. “Engage is the result of OrgSync being bought out by another company, so all of the capabilities of OrgSync will be seen in this new system.”
John Olds, the chairman of GW College Republicans, said the organization uses almost every OrgSync feature, like applications for office space and forms for budget requests submitted to the SA finance committee. He said he is “looking forward” to the switch because Engage will make student organization processes, like budgeting and tracking the organization’s membership, more efficient.
“What I’m told is that it should be a smooth transition,” Olds said. “It will have all the same functions for budgeting and forms and applications.”
Jared Levinson, the Interfraternity Council president, said the IFC regularly uses OrgSync to keep a list of members and send out documents like executive board applications, complaint forms and upcoming event information.
Levinson said he will check in with members of the IFC executive board over the phone during the summer to ensure they are adjusting to the new platform and will require the executive board to pass information to fraternity chapter presidents about how the new platform works.
“We are just checking in, keeping up to date with everything that we want to do so we are ready to go in the fall,” he said.
This article appeared in the May 13, 2019 issue of the Hatchet.