A new website launched by Student Activities to help ease connections between students and the university’s 351 student organizations has been met with praise among users, despite the fact that the majority of organizations have yet to become involved.
Since Owl Connect went live a little more than three weeks ago, only 25 percent of active student organizations have completed their setup.
Owl Connect is a database with contact information for all student organizations on Main and Health Sciences campuses. The specific pages for each student organization were already established by the Sept. 5 launch date and only need updated contact information.
Adriane Reilly, program coordinator for Student Organizations, was a strong contributor to Owl Connect’s establishment. She sent out emails to all of the registered organization leaders, however many of those contacts have expired due to change in leadership or graduation.
“It’s hard for me to reach out to emails I don’t have,” she said. “I’m just trying my best to get the word out to the [student organization] leaders.”
Reilly said she plans to announce a deadline soon in which all student organizations have to join or else they will not be considered active, therefore not have access to location reservations and advising. She expects the deadline to be no later than Oct. 31.
However, it doesn’t appear that the low number of responders is due to complaints about the system. So far, student clubs have had a positive experience with Owl Connect.
Jessica Cooper, Temple College Democrats’ president, said the initial setup took her only five minutes.
“It was such an easy thing,” she said.
She highlighted how Owl Connect allows for easy integration with student organizations’ Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Because of this integration, Cooper said she noticed more people showing up to the meetings who don’t have social media connections to TCD but found out via Owl Connect.
Michael Kovich, president of Temple’s Queer Student Union, also had praise for the effectiveness of the new system.
“We’ve already had about 20 requests from prospective members to join QSU via Owl Connect,” he said in an email. “A few others have reached out to me there with some questions about our organization.”
Owl Connect offers a range of options to organization leaders. These options include a calendar of upcoming events, recommendations for registered users and page customizability comparable to a Facebook profile.
This program is a replacement from the old database system called Symplicity, which was often a source of complaints to student organizations, Reilly said.
In the future, Reilly said this program is expected to improve. The various pages’ URLs will be made simpler and smaller, mass texting abilities will be set up and the homecoming king and queen elections will be held on Owl Connect.
This database is accessible from the student activities website under the “Get Involved” tab.
“It will showcase the organizations and how they contribute to the university,” Reilly said. “I hope it really connects potential members to an organization they’ll like.”
Marcus McCarthy can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Marcus.McCarthy6.