Student group leaders who once struggled to stay organized may find their jobs easier thanks to OrgSync, a new student group management software.
The new system, which replaced the Student Activities Reporting System, or STARS, is the culmination of years’ worth of effort, said Joe Calizo, student activities assistant director. STARS helped transfer student group registration online, and the Student Government Association used it to help with allocating funding.
The university purchased a two-year contract with OrgSync’s parent company using funds from the student technology fee, Calizo said. OrgSync currently provides its management system to schools in 42 states.
The switch came after university officials realized STARS didn’t have much else to offer student groups and the university quickly outgrew the software, Calizo said.
“STARS served these purposes well for a number of years, but it was limited in providing other technological tools to help groups succeed,” Calizo wrote in an email. “If you were a member of an organization, but not the President or Treasurer of a group, there was no reason for you to use STARS.”
The system is designed to be friendlier to today’s students, and includes messaging and information storage tools that help group members connect online. OrgSync can also complement Facebook and Twitter pages for groups to make management seamless.
Some student leaders, such as Chinese Student Association President Steven Wang, said they were happy to see STARS go.
“I thought that STARS was definitely out of date,” the senior business major said. “There weren’t too many functions to STARS, and it was pretty useless.”
The biggest challenge, some feel, is getting students to transition to the new system and actually use it. The Student Organization Resource Center is working on a campaign with Stamp marketing that includes raffles and prizes for groups that use the site. Some resources will be available exclusively through OrgSync.
But it may be too late, as students said they found ways to get around STARS’ poor organization tools and feel hesitant to give up their tried and true methods.
The Chinese Student Association created its own Google listserv as an alternative to STARS that has worked well, Wang said.
Andrew Aggabao, president of the Filipino Cultural Association, said his group also looked elsewhere to find the tools STARS couldn’t offer them. Now, he said, his group is weighing the pros and cons of moving its listserv and documents to the OrgSync system, which could take some time.
Justin Dent, the SGA’s Student Groups committee chairman, said while the SGA will be more lenient this year, groups that fail to switch over may risk their chances of receiving SGA funding.
“A group won’t not be funded because they’re not on OrgSync yet because we know that it’s going to be a little while before every group is,” Dent said. “Next year, that would probably be the case. It just makes everyone’s life easier.”
The SGA recognizes groups for funding by looking in the system, Dent said, noting he has been working closely with the Student Organization Resources Center on the project.
“It’s not so much a funding thing as an organization thing,” Dent added.
Aggabao said the biggest benefit of moving to OrgSync is its record-keeping capabilities. Transferring old fliers, plans and meeting minutes from officer to officer and from year to year can be difficult, and with OrgSync’s archiving capabilities, he hopes group management will be more consistent.
“We’re really excited about the capabilities and exploring what it has to offer,” Aggabao said. “We hope in the long term it will be beneficial.”