University set to replace student organization software

Austin Metz

Grand Valley State University’s Student Life department is working to switch online student organization platforms from what is now known as ‘Stuey’ to the third-party company Orgsync.

Bob Stoll is the director of the Office of Student Life at GVSU and he has overseen the transition dating from 10-12 years ago when the school first introduced ‘Stuey’ to now with the new Orgsync.

“With Orgsync, we will get much more than a database,” Stoll said. “We will now get a very integrated system that will help students connect within our own campus community and also serve as a database functionality of things and it also has lots of other applications that will come into play which includes the funding part for the student life fund, there are actually applications for volunteer services, there is applications for campus recreation, stuff for student portfolios.”

Ben Rapin, Web Manager in Institutional Marketing at GVSU, helped build and maintain the ‘Stuey’ program through the years and to him, Orgsync delivers a fresh start.

“When we first built ‘Stuey,’ nothing else existed commercially for us to use,” Rapin said. “Now that there is other competition and other tools available, they have been able to build bigger and better than anything we could do internally.”

For the university, the new software will cost between $10,000 and $20,000, which Stoll explained would save the university from having to hire another full-time employee to maintain a site they could build themselves.

“It will be much more beneficial to the university than trying to recreate it and manage it and to keep it current,” Stoll said. “When we really nailed it down and realized the benefits with the social media platform versus just the database process, that cost will be insignificant compared to the benefit it will bring to the university.”

Stoll explained that because of the cost to hire a staff and pay them to create a new platform, it was more cost efficient for the university to turn to a third party.

Before GVSU begins to use the new software, Stoll and his team will be testing the software and will then begin to train student leaders.

“Next week someone from Orgsync will be here to do some training, for staff as well as some of the student leadership to let them see what’s coming with this,” Stoll said. “The goal is that we are going to over the course of the semester get everyone to sign in and get established in that Orgsync community for next year.”

The new Orgsync program will allow for easier tracking of the different student organizations and will help connect student groups much like a social networking website.

Aaron Haight, Assistant Director of Student Life, has been working with Stoll and Rapin to prepare the university for the new program and shared some of the new features Orgsync will bring to its users.

“We can have direct links to Facebook and Twitter, there is a texting function so an organization can type something up and text all its members, there are ways to create files and resources for each of the organizations so that organizations can keep stuff from year to year,” Haight said.

Other features include the ability to scan IDs at different events, which then allows groups to send out questions and forms to everyone in attendance, perform basic functions like keeping track of your roster, communicating with the groups, and a budget function.

To Stoll, the new program will be an improvement because it will help better establish a sense of community within the organizations.

“I think it will make them feel like they are a part of a community, part of a Grand Valley community,” Stoll said. “Right away there is a sense of identifying things and it will connect them with others, versus now it’s more reporting and database and electronic filing cabinet.”
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