Over the summer, Student Life began to transition between college engagement programs, from OrgSync to Engage.
The new program, which is used for Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) to coordinate events and involvement and store RSO information and official documents was presented to RSO leaders at Student Life’s Leadership Conference on Sept. 5.
While OrgSync and Campus Labs (producer of CollegiateLink and Engage) were initially competing companies, discussions of a merger began when both programs were purchased by Leeds Equity Partners in 2015.
Institutions that previously used OrgSync or CollegiateLink are now being led to Engage, a program that rolled out on July 5, according to Student Life Assistant Director Cara Deschermeier. Campus Lab estimates that over 750 institutions will be using the program once migration has been completed. Deschermeier said CollegiateLink users were automatically transferred to Engage, while OrgSync users had to be specially migrated to the new program.
Deschermeier and fellow Student Life Assistant Director Tony Cianciolo attended a conference led by Campus Labs from July 18-20 to learn more about the program and decide on next steps.
“We just decided to go ahead and (migrate),” Deschermeier said. “It was going fine, we were having some good moments, but we’ve run into some bumps. And, I don’t want to blame them, but it is more on Campus Labs’s side of things. They’re still just trying to work out some kinks. But it’s all just about rolling out those new programs; you’re going to run into problems like those, especially when you’re the early adopters.”
Cianciolo said the migration has been complicated by SVSU’s use of OrgSync.
“Migration wasn’t great,” he said. “What we’re seeing from Campus Labs (is that) we used OrgSync a lot differently than other universities. Other universities weren’t interested in moving old data over, and we’re very data-driven. We’re interested in having all the information. So when we told them ‘we want it all,’ we’re getting it all.”
Cianciolo said he expects the program will be an upgrade for students who want to find more ways to be involved on campus.
“OrgSync looked great four years ago when we first got it, but they didn’t do a whole lot of updates on how it looks, so now it looks old,” Cianciolo said. “But with Engage, a lot of things are crisper and cleaner.”
Cianciolo demonstrated SVSU Engage’s ability to filter events by theme, categories and even perks like free food or course credit.
“So there’s a lot of things that are great for outward-facing students,” he said. “But a lot of things changed on our own end, a lot of terminology and stuff that we’re used to from OrgSync don’t quite translate from Campus Labs, so there’s just been a bit of adaptation from our own end.”
Despite some difficulties in migration and adjustments for returning RSO leaders, Cianciolo and Deschermeier said there has not been a noticeable difference this year in re-registration or event request numbers.
“It’s a work in progress,” International Student Club leader Lucas Valota said. “Right now I think the previous one was much more easier to use. But I feel like in a couple months, or maybe a year or two, we will like Engage.”
Campus Labs Senior Product Manager Ryan O’Connell, a former student leader, said student input has been useful to the creation of Engage.
“(Student feedback) has provided us with helpful information and keen insights,” O’Connell. “We’ve developed a more versatile student engagement platform to support your day to day co-curricular experiences.”
Cianciolo said some of the features from OrgSync that are currently unavailable on SVSU Engage may be available in the future.
“There’s extra features you can buy, but we just have the base product right now,” Cianciolo said. “They’ll look cool, but right now, we’re just focusing on the migration.”
Student Life also encourages RSOs to re-register through SVSU Engage, even if they re-registered through OrgSync in the spring, because the new program asks some different questions.
“I think for a lot of us, we just need to realize this also is an opportunity for a fresh start,” Deschermeier said.
If students do encounter errors or have suggestions for SVSU Engage, Student Life wants to hear about them.
“With it being a new program, they are taking suggestions from us on how to do things,” Cianciolo said.