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OrgSync gets mixed reviews from students

October 28, 2010

“It’s like Facebook for grown-ups,” said hall manager for Parker Hall Grady Stehr, regarding OrgSync organizational software.

Approximately one quarter of the campus community are registered users of OrgSync, Director of Student Life Paul Shepherd said.

A three-year contract for the software program was purchased last fall by Student Senate for $24,900 which allows for up to 300 group pages (or portals), Shepherd said. The price is also locked at that for an additional three years should Student Senate choose to renew the contract.

While providing portals for student organizations is one focus of OrgSync, UWRF also has portals for each of the residence halls and a “New Students 2010” group said Shepherd. 

Further demographic portals including commuting or non-traditional students could also be a future possibility.

It is a requirement for student organizations to have an OrgSync account.

OrgSync provides a central forum for student organizations and its leaders, a website and unlimited file storage which makes it easy to pass information on from past student organization leaders onto new leaders as there is turnover from semester to semester. OrgSync has also provided Residence Life staff an easy way to communicate with their residents by hall.

“I use it to communicate with members of the hall about upcoming programs,” said Stehr. “It is also a great means for communicating with my Hall Council members. Some HM’s also use it to reserve space in their building, and next month, it will be used to streamline the RA and HM application process.”

OrgSync hosts 185 UWRF portals including approximately 165 active student organizations and several others. As of Oct.19, OrgSync had 2,825 UWRF users: 931 freshmen, 541 sophomores, 487 juniors, 462 seniors, 58 graduate students, 31 alumni, 120 faculty plus others that did not specify a classification.

Not all students feel that OrgSync was worth the money.

“I personally don’t like it just because we have so many other forms of communication in our organization,” said member of the Phi Mu sorority Rachel Mencheski.“We just use it because we have to, otherwise we wouldn’t use it at all.”

However, Mencheski did say that OrgSync did make filling out forms easier, like registering for homecoming. She also said Phi Mu was contacted by one student over the summer who claimed they learned about Phi Mu through OrgSync and was interested in joining.

While some students don’t think OrgSync is worth it, others have found it very helpful.

“If you break it down, a dollar per student per year doesn’t seem too out of control,” Stehr said. “It is up to the students to get their money’s worth out of OrgSync. It can do a lot of great things.”

Promotions for the software from Student Life could be a reason why there was a huge surge in new registrations earlier this month.  Some tactics to promote use of the program have been placing the logo on event publicity, holding training sessions for using the system, using the program as a paperless way for organizations to submit forms, and by including information in orientation packets for new students.

“Our best strategy has probably just been talking it up,” Shepherd said. “Our goal has really been to make [OrgSync] part of the fabric of the institution — so students think, ‘If I want to know what’s going on, I need to look at OrgSync.’”

Student Life will be hosting an OrgSync basic training session Nov. 3, a basic web development session Nov. 17 and an Advanced Web Development session Dec. 1 all from 7:15-9:45 p.m. in the Chalmer Davee Library Blue Lab.

“[OrgSync] certainly helps us provide a much greater level of support for our student organizations,” Shepherd said. “I feel like I could talk for hours on its benefits.”