College updates student organization management system to Engage

by Debby Cobon | 1/17/20 2:15am

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The Council of Student Organizations held training sessions to assist with the transition to Engage.

by Olympia Nagel-Caland / The Dartmouth

The College has replaced the online student organization management system OrgSync with Engage, effective this winter. The system allows student groups to manage records, store and share important documents, communicate with members, publicize events and track participation. While the change brings a modern upgrade to the College’s system, the transition led to some brief confusion — most of which was remedied by training for student organizations. 

According to director of student involvement Anna Hall, the College is one of the last universities to make the switch. 

Campus Labs, a company which bought OrgSync in 2016, developed Engage as a platform to replace OrgSync. Because of the program being replaced, the College had no choice other than move to Engage, according to Hall. 

Program director of student life Steven King said the College waited to make the decision to ensure the platform would run as smoothly as possible.

In order to support students with the transition, the Council of Student Organizations held a training session the first week of the term and offers open office hours.

“At the beginning of each term, COSO has a big policy meeting where we review existing procedures like how to apply for funding,” Hall said. “Because of the new system, we incorporated a training for leaders.”

 Hall noted that the training included a demonstration of the system, a highlight of the program’s features and an explanation of assistance available on campus to get help with the program. Hall said that she has witnessed minimal concerns from students so far and that many students seem to like the change. 

“Some students have just come in saying they need administrative access to their group pages because they have taken on a new leadership position and were not given that access in the fall,” Hall said.

According to King, the structure of OrgSync and Engage are fairly similar and the only major differences are in terminology. For example, what were called “umbrellas” on OrgSync are called “branches,” and “portals” are now “organizations.” 

 “In terms of the structure, it’s pretty much the same, and the bulk of the components that existed in the portals are still there,” King said. 

King said that Engage has simplified and fixed a lot of the common issues students had with OrgSync. Students are also able to easily access the site by searching for ‘engage.dartmouth.edu,’ according to King. 

“In many ways, it’s streamlined how things work and how students can access their information.”

Alisya Reza ’22 said she appreciates the organization and look of Engage.

“It’s a prettier interface, and that makes navigating it kind of nicer,” Reza said. “It’s not a big thing, but it is better to navigate when the page looks nice.” 

King said he was satisfied with students’ positive reactions.

“With OrgSync, I would receive unsolicited feedback of how awful it was,” King said. “With Engage, I’ve been receiving unsolicited feedback about how much students like it, which has been a nice change.” 

Although students haven’t reported many concerns at this rate, the implementation of Engage is still in its first week.

“It’s taking us a little bit of time to train everyone and make sure that students are where they need to be and have access to their organizations,” Hall said. “We’re all still learning how the system works and haven’t even fully seen how it works. However, if there is something students are hoping it can do or are not sure how to make something work, I encourage them to come in and see if we can help.”