New software links students to clubs and organizations

By Julia Corrigan

A new multiphase system being implemented over the course of the next year at Rider will revolutionize the way clubs and organizations on campus operate.

The online software, funded by the Student Government Association (SGA), is called Collegiate Link and will be a center for campus activities and clubs.

Collegiate Link will supply students with necessary information, including joining an organization’s page, finding out what events are taking place on campus, tracking service hours, running elections and taking attendance, according to Director of Campus Life Richard Kopp.

“The hope and goal is that eventually the site will become a work-stop hub for student involvement and engagement opportunities,” said Kopp. “The university calendar on the website does not really show the breadth and depth of what’s taking place on campus. This will really show what is taking place from a student perspective.”

As of right now, the student organizations are only using a small portion of what the software can do, according to junior public relations major and SGA President Ryan Hopely. The system will be moving through phases before many of its features are used.

Collegiate Link is currently in its first phase: building awareness and getting campus organizations on board.

“Every club and organization, office and department recognized by the SGA has its own page,” said Hopely. “You can do really anything you need to under that page, like track your roster, write news blurbs, upload documents, connect to Facebook and Twitter, recruit and show off your events.”

Even students who are not involved will have a chance to see what’s happening on campus with the virtual flier board called the “opportunity board,” said Hopely. He hopes the software will combat the perception that there is nothing taking place on campus.

“There’s no excuse for not noticing how much there is to do with the opportunity board,” he said.

The next phase in the project is opening Collegiate Link to the public. Kopp plans to show admitted students at open houses the rich and vibrant clubs and activities on campus with the system.

“We want to encourage people to post things as much as possible in the public view, so we can show it to anybody who is not logged in,” he said.

Over the summer, Kopp and Hopely plan to work with different departments to use the software for event planning.

“Our ultimate goal is to use the system for event management,” said Kopp. “We are hoping to collaborate with Auxiliary Services, Transportation, Public Safety, Catering and Office of Information Technologies to have one master event registration form in the system. Students, faculty and staff who are looking to book an event do not have to fill out four, five or six different forms. We are trying to consolidate all of that with the system to make it less painful for someone to book something on campus.”

In addition to implementing the event-management system this summer, the financial board of SGA hope to roll out the entire finance system for campus groups.

“All clubs and organizations will be able to see on a live-basis what their budget is and what has been spent,” said Kopp. “We’re going to take all the current paper processes to the electronic world.”

Another aspect of Collegiate Link that will excite students is the plan to take ticket sales online, according to Kopp. Big-ticket events, like the fall concert and Midnight MAACness, that only have certain times to pick up tickets on a first-come, first-served basis will be conducted online.

In the future, all clubs and organizations will be given a card reader to take attendance at meetings, according to Kopp. Students will also be able to log in to the website with their Rider credentials and see events they have attended after swiping in with their ID.

Collegiate Link also offers access to a co-curricular transcript which displays what students are involved with outside the classroom. However, Collegiate Link is not the only software that offers this feature, as there are many other programs that can also do this. Therefore, the administration is not forced to use this program.

Collegiate Link will not only be beneficial to students at Rider but also to administrators, according to Kopp.

“Ultimately, what this system will do, as well, is provide a lot of data for administration to track students who are involved in organizations, events or projects on campus,” Kopp said. “Then, they can use it for assessment data to show that students who are more involved are more likely to succeed, have higher GPAs, graduation rates and retention rates.”

But, do not get attached to the name “Collegiate Link,” as the campus will be voting on a new name for the system so it is Rider related, he said. The “Rider Collegiate Link Branding Contest” will run until March 11.

Rider students, faculty and staff can vote to help select the name of the software at https://rider.collegiatelink.net/election/start/93170.

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