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UWRF to purchase organization program

November 5, 2009

On Oct. 20, the Student Senate at UW-River Falls introduced and voted to purchase a new program to be used by students for a one-time fee of $25,000 that will cover the span of three years.

The new program is an organization management program called Orgsync, and will allow organizations and committees on campus to keep records easily online.

The money that the Student Senate allocated to purchase this software will come from the reserve account that currently has approximately $150,000 in it that is not being used. The reserve account is supposed to be used in order to purchase or fund programs that are beneficial to all students attending UWRF, according to Student Senate President Josh Brock.

Orgsync is collaborative software to be used online by campus in order to better communicate and organize expenditures, history and rosters of organizations and committees on campus. It is offered by the company of the same name who “are a privately-held, self-funded, Austin, TX-based hosted service providing the tools and applications needed to organize and manage student organizations and their members,” according to orgsync.com.

When Brock introduced the software to the rest of the Student Senate during the Oct. 20 meeting, it was granted a demonstration of the software by one of its founders Cayce Stone. Stone began to explain that the company started by trying to implement the program on Facebook first and ran the social networking site for more than a year. Afterward, with the improvements made and feedback received by the founders of Orgsync, they were able to create their own software.

“We wanted to use Facebook as a base for the program so it would be user-friendly to whoever uses it,” said Stone via conference call during the demonstration. “We [Orgsync] wanted the program to be familiar to college students and whoever uses it so we wanted it to be as user-friendly as Facebook, if not more.”

During the demonstration, Stone showed the Student Senate how members of an organization filed under Orgsync will be able to easily upload financial information, membership and contact information, history of the organization, upcoming events and file sharing with other organizations and committees on campus.

“I think this program will greatly improve organization communication on campus and vastly improve knowledge of organizations and committees for students on campus as it will be part of [the UWRF] system,” said Allocable Fees and Appropriation Board Chair Tyler Halverson.

The program also has great customer service and is very personable to the implementation of the program on the UWRF campus, according to Brock and Student Senate Advisor Paul Shepherd.

“Cacey Stone, the man who gave [the Student Senate] the demonstration, has been on Matt Levine’s voicemail everyday to check in and ask how things are going with the software,” said Shepherd.

UWRF will not be the first school in the UW system to implement Orgsync into their individual systems. UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stout and UW-Eau Claire have all purchased and started using the organizational management software with good reception from its students, said Shepherd.

“I was involved in the implementation of Orgsync into the Eau Claire system and it was the same as it is starting here,” said Shepherd. “I worked with Stone in Eau Claire also and he made it very personal, like he is here, that he wanted Orgsync to be successful and user-friendly to the students on their campus.”

Orgsync’s mission statement states that their “… goal is to provide the ultimate online networking and member management service. By offering dedicated customer attention, along with highly regarded, proven technology, we create an exceptional experience for our clients. We want our users to be able to centralize all aspects of student involvement in order to ultimately maximize their education,” according to the Orgsync Web site.

Reception of the program by the Student Senate was slightly split with a nine to four vote in favor of the program. During the Oct. 20 meeting, those in the Student Senate who spoke against the voting mainly spoke against voting on it the night it was introduced and that they wanted organizations on campus to try the program first before the Student Senate purchased it.

“We are a representative organization and some times we just have to make decisions that we feel [are] in the best interest of the students,” said Brock.

The current plan for the program is to hopefully implement it during the spring semester, hopefully during the middle to later part of February, as a trial run for organizations and committees on campus to become familiar with the program, said Brock.

The program will also allow UWRF alumni to keep track of their old organizations that they were part of when the attended the school. Unlike programs offered through UWRF, such as SquirrelMail, Orgsync will allow alumni to stay connected with all organizations UWRF has to offer.