OrgSync delivers fresh medium for student, club interaction

Baruch College has partnered up with OrgSync, a web-hosting platform that sets up a portal for individual colleges and universities where students can get event updates and keep track of their extracurricular involvement. Administration from Student Life switched over to OrgSync from Baruch Connect earlier this semester, creating MyBaruch. The static front page features profiles of peer mentors and polls with the intention of collecting information about club events and preferences. There are articles posted that supplement the Freshmen Seminar curriculum devised by Student Life. Useful communication and team-building exercises can also be found on the same front page. Pictures from events, like Convocation Day, crowd around the various posts. The front page seems cluttered, regardless of how useful the information presented is. To its credit, however, tutorials on navigating the portal have also been posted, which have the potential to declutter this single page.

Continuing to scroll, the user comes across information about club life, events and involvement. Major events are highlighted on a color-coded calendar that shows everything happening at school, even though the events may not be directly pertinent to its user.

The menu features an online portfolio that allows users to fill out personal information regarding their on-campus involvement and aspirations. It seems like a needless tool for most, but is nevertheless an interesting feature. It would be more attractive—especially to freshmen—if the online portfolio could match its users to clubs at Baruch based on their interests. This addition could also serve seniors, who might also want to get more involved before graduating as well.

A seemingly useless and perplexing facet is MyBaruch’s recommendation ability. Upon searching through the portal’s users, it does not seem like there are any faculty on it other than its creators from Student Life. If professors also used this program in conjunction with their students, this feature could kick off.

However, even if this feature does become more relevant with faculty involvement, the tool’s potential still seems limited. The feature, along with the entire online portfolio, is null unless a user is particularly interested in filling it out.

The next menu option allows users to send a message to any student who has activated their portal account or any group to which they belong. Admittedly, this has the capacity to become incredibly useful. Every student can connect here and organize an event or update all members of any team. However, only with the necessary manpower could this feature work.

There is an activity panel that lets users add positions to their clubs. They can also request and create events and fill out necessary forms. If the forms go to the right recipients and the intended recipient actually uses the portal, this feature could operate smoothly. A personal calendar also exists in the events panel to help users keep track of individual events.

In addition, the portal includes personal tools like to-do lists, which may prove useful for certain users. Notebooks and traditional pen and paper seem more accessible for organizational tools than logging onto a specific portal.

The portal also has a section devoted to on-campus involvement with blank reports, prompting users to write reflections, along with held positions within organizations. The concept of a reflection for a club experience seems arbitrary, like the recommendations. It gives the impression that the portal may also include potential employers and internship opportunities, though it does not.

Perhaps that should be an added tool, but it would undermine the already-established STARR Career Center and its accompanying portal. A space dedicated to reflections on club experiences and positions could be a highly-sought platform for students who learn in that fashion and for Student Life administration and organizers who want concrete ways to improve clubs and school organizations.

OrgSync also has a notification setting that enables a user’s organizations to text directly from OrgSync or push messages into the user’s inbox within the portal to an attached personal email. Since the system employs push notifications, users would be aware that they received a message, provided that they check their school email on a regular basis.

OrgSync has the capability to be surprisingly efficient and useful, under the condition that everyone on campus uses it. Although there was a giant banner on the second floor of the Newman Vertical Campus advertising its launch during the first week of school, the portal should be constantly marketed.

Freshmen and transfer students especially should be aware of this tool because the portal could potentially transform into a major connector for the entire school within the next couple of years.

There is also a lingering inclination to say that students would complain over having to remember another username and password to log on to yet another portal that is deemed equally as important as CunyPortal or Cunyfirst. It may also make students inquire why OrgSync exists as a completely separate entity from every other portal in use.

Everything for a student should be located on one portal, preferably one that is made by one administration so that they can accompany students’ needs. OrgSync is unique and interesting, but it seems like a generic portal that every college uses. Baruch needs to construct its own portal that houses academics and involvement in one.