Staff Editorial: Reorganization of student involvement was necessary, but brings up new challenges
New tools for student involvement create uneasy transition
Some members of The Eagle’s staff have positions with the Center for Student Involvement. Their opinions have not influenced the opinion of this editorial.
Over the summer, AU added on yet another center: the Center for Student Involvement. Formerly known as the Student Activities Office, the new name is not the only change instituted in the Center, as reported by The Eagle. With the changes officially rolling out this fall, staff and students alike have had to make some adjustments. The most notable changes are the institution of Engage and its related platform, Corq. Engage provides a new way for organizations to request funding. Previously students submitted physical paperwork that was reviewed, which made mistakes common. Engage also connects to the Corq app, allowing student organizations to promote and track student interest. Corq was used by over 4,000 students during Welcome Week according to reporting by The Eagle, and is primarily a space for students to know about events happening on campus and properly RSVP to them.
These are welcome changes to the student involvement experience. Previously, applying for funding for events could be tedious and frustrating for student leaders. The potential to lose track of funding or make other, literally costly, mistakes was high with the previous system. With Engage, student organization leaders and the Center for Student Involvement should be better able to track budget issues. Additionally, this is a common platform used by other universities, so the University is working to improve communication between students and the Center for Student Involvement.
The Corq app is a space where any and all student organization events can be seen by students, as opposed to tons of emails lost in inboxes or hoping you catch a Facebook or Instagram post. With all events contained in a single app instead of across social media platforms, students will theoretically be better informed about all the things happening on campus. This may also help events being put on by other schools more accessible. A student in SPA may see an event organized by SOC they want to attend that normally they would have not known about, since they may not be on the SOC mailing list. On the Corq app, students are able to RSVP and then check into the event when they arrive. This check-in also helps organization leaders keep track of their event numbers, while informing the Center for Student Involvement of participation numbers.
Despite these positives, there have been some challenges to this transition. Student leaders were given training on how to use Engage and Corq, but this training could have been more in-depth. As CSI staff has only been using the platforms since this summer, it isn’t unexpected that there would be some missed instructions. There has been confusion surrounding how attendee numbers may affect club funding, possibly making some club leaders nervous as event funding is difficult to come by as is. Getting executive boards of clubs to make the adjustment to the platform is part of the challenge of transition.
More importantly, the platforms are missing full support from some students. While the current freshman class has received instruction on how to use Corq and, to some extent, Engage, upperclassmen have largely been left out of the new rollout. For many older students, especially those that live off-campus, this change was sudden and not communicated. It has only been upon arrival to campus events or club meetings that the Corq app has been introduced to them. This uneven rollout has prevented real buy-in from all students. If there had been an email announcement about this, then maybe some upperclassmen would have been more prepared to download an app in advance, instead of at the door.
The transition from Facebook events and Eventbrite to Engage and Corq may be easier in the future, as the popularity of Facebook continues to decline with each freshman class. As of now, this transition presents a challenge for current student leaders in bridging the gap between students used to previous messaging and the new Corq app. Even with some lack of communication, students will learn how to use these platforms, and with time, the student body will adapt to these changes.