The University of Mary Washington recently adopted a new platform called OrgSync for managing university organizations and their communications. The system is geared toward assisting student and faculty-led groups in communication and club tasks.
According to Megan Higginbotham, the assistant director of Student Activities and Engagement (SAE), OrgSync will be an online tool that helps student leaders and faculty to keep track of meeting attendance, finances, create tasks and communicate with group members through messaging and social media, as well as advertise events to the UMW community.
The requirements that govern OrgSync fall within the organization management solution contract, which is administered by Doug Searcy, vice president for student affairs.
“OrgSync has a tremendous amount of functionality for our students, improving everything from communication between clubs and organizations to management of rosters, records, electronic portfolios, calendaring and event-planning,” said Searcy. “It is an entirely different tool to allow for greater interaction between students and groups.”
SGA President Jeremy Thompson, senior history and political science major, believes OrgSync is a good idea, but that it will take time to implement, as every student has to sign up for OrgSync before it can work. However, Thompson points out that over 60 clubs have signed up already and response has been positive so far.
“It’s going to work better for large organizations with repeated events,” said Thompson.
Currently, the only tools available for these functions are UMW or personal email accounts, Facebook and UMW blogs. Under the current contract, UMW Blogs will be up for renewal after April 2013. The contract term lasts until March 2015 with the option to renew through 2018.
The OrgSync website demonstrates ways that it would be used by an organization or school. Users can share pictures, polls, status updates, videos, events and news posts, which can be shared on Twitter and Facebook.
With OrgSync, organizations can track community service hours and member participation. It also has a mechanism for online transactions and uses a subscription model of one, three or five years. Those individual subscriptions have an overall portal to manage and oversee subordinate organizations, which each cost $2,500. Additional portals can be purchased separately for managing multiple departments on campus. It is being used as various public and private universities.
The implementation plan for the new system is managed in a series of stages or phases. Every school is assigned a campus consultant from OrgSync who helps to manage the implementation project. The UMW campus consultant for OrgSync will be Megan Petter.
The first phase targets campus administrators and involves campus administrator training, setting up and customizing the community and transitioning departmental processes to OrgSync. The second phase targets student leaders and a campus launch plan is developed. Finally, the platform is introduced to student leaders and on-site training is conducted.
The last phase brings in the campus community to involve a campus-wide launch, optimizing OrgSync to the remaining departments and conducting additional training opportunities.
“We are currently in the second phase of implementation at UMW. I trained campus administrators represented from several offices throughout campus in the summer, then visited campus in October to train your student leaders on the system,” said Petter. “I am currently in conversations with the UMW Information Technology department about what is involved to move into phase three.”
While it is not clear how the existing resources and systems were not meeting contract requirements, the OrgSync environment promises a lot of additional communication possibilities, which involve student recruitment, admission and orientation.
According to Searcy, UMW “vetted OrgSync with SGA and a number of students to make sure that it was right for UMW.”