Community Colleges Leverage Technology To Increase Student Involvement
OrgSync Meets the Fundamental Needs of Community Colleges
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
With over 60,000 students spread across twelve campuses, Salt Lake Community College (“SLCC”) administrators were feeling the strain of trying to advise student organizations, complete forms and approval processes, and communicate effectively with students. SLCC had heard about OrgSync and its success in helping to drive student engagement on two other Utah campuses; after a thorough vetting process, SLCC selected OrgSync. “We needed to provide a better forum for our students to communicate, and this was clearly the best product,” said Curtis Larsen, Director of Student Life and Leadership.
GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Grand Rapids Community College (“GRCC”) has two campuses but lacks a student union, where students can gather and meet around their interests. Administrators in the Student Life Department recognized the need to create stronger connections with students and operate more efficiently and turned to OrgSync. “As a two-year institution without a student union, we had to turn to the internet and see how we could use those resources to stay in touch with our students and allow them to connect,” said Eric Mullen, Student Life Director at GRCC. “OrgSync speaks to a lot of the inherent needs of a two-year institution.”
Streamlined Processes Create More Time for Student Development
PAPER FORMS MOVE ONLINE
Before OrgSync, administrators and students at both GRCC and SLCC struggled to manage the many forms departments required. Often these forms, like the travel requisition form at GRCC and budget requests at SLCC, required multiple approvals and students were frustrated having to track down administrators between classes. By moving forms to OrgSync, the entire approval process is expedited; administrators can quickly approve requests online and students can submit forms outside of class hours. “The provost and risk-management administrators can approve these forms quickly and our office has documentation of the entire process,” said Eric Mullen. “Risk management forms, which used to take two weeks to get approved, can be approved by three different administrators and sent to the student with a response within twelve hours.”
“We needed to provide a better forum for our students to communicate, and this was clearly the best product.”
Students at SLCC’s Airport Center campus wanted to create clubs and plan events, but student life administrators headquartered at the main campus ten miles away, physically processing forms was a challenge. With OrgSync, the student groups on the Airport Center campus are flourishing because they can access all the resources and support they need online. “Before OrgSync, we couldn’t support these students very well because they were so far away. Now we can work with them better and give them more student services support,” said Peggy Hoffman, Director of Student Activities.
Ease of Access Leads to More Engaged and Connected Students
REACHING STUDENTS ON MULTIPLE CAMPUSES
With twelve campuses in the SLCC system, the Student Life department struggled to generate turnout at events, trainings, and on-campus activities; paper flyers, mass emails, and paper form registrations were not enticing students to participate. OrgSync has made it easier for campus staff to share information and advertise events, regardless of which campus they attend; the result has been a rise in student awareness and participation at campus events.
COMMUNITY AND CAMPUS CALENDARS
The online calendar system has made it easier for administrators and students to view events on campus. Students can now find out about upcoming events across the SLCC system with the Community-Wide Calendar or view campus-specific events on the Campus Calendar. Students involved in more than one club or program can see events made available to them in their personal calendar, which integrates Outlook and Google calendars. “It’s a breath of fresh air to see everything in one place,” said Peggy Hoffman.
ADVERTSING EVENTS ONLINE
With OrgSync, advertising events no longer requires paper flyers. Administrators can create news posts about upcoming events and promote specific events through the community-wide promote feature. “We used the community promote feature to advertise the Leadership Training Conference soon after we completed our OrgSync training. Within days, we had 80-100 students sign up online, which was much higher than last year, simply because they saw it in OrgSync,” said Curtis Larsen.
Students Find It Easy to Manage Their Organizations Online
SMOOTHER OFFICER TRANSITION
Students at Grand Rapids and Salt Lake Community Colleges are successfully managing their clubs and organizations through OrgSync. Student leaders find the communication tools, like mass text messaging, news posts, and events, create a much better way to share information with members. New leaders also appreciate storing important files and documents in one online location, and paper copies have been almost completely done away with. “There’s a much better transition in leadership with our student organizations,” said Peggy Hoffman. “It’s much easier for new club leaders to start their new roles in the organization.”
MORE ACTIVE STUDENT BODY
Significant increases in event requests, activities planned, and checks issued are several indicators that GRCC campus administrators point to when gauging OrgSync’s success. “OrgSync is a virtual community within GRCC. Now, we have an online domain where students can share resources, communicate, and operate their organization,” said Eric Mullen. “OrgSync is really driving student involvement on campus and making organization management easier. The result is a lot of students are more active and engaged.”
Future Planning with OrgSync
EXPAND INTO MULTIPLE DEPARTMENTS
Both colleges are working to spread OrgSync across their campus and increase adoption with students. The Student Life department at SLCC wants to strategically connect with other departments, like Athletics, through OrgSync and has plans to set up authentication to make it even easier for students to create accounts on OrgSync.
LEVERAGE STUDENT EPORTFOLIOS
The strategic planning committee at GRCC is looking to use OrgSync ePortfolios to meet its plan to provide online portfolios for students across campus. Administrators want to teach students how to develop their ePortfolios and use them when applying for a transfer, graduate school, or job after college.
“OrgSync is really driving student involvement on campus and making organization management easier. The result is a lot of students are more active and engaged.”