Would your campus organization sometimes be better termed a disorganization? Although fun and rewarding, campus activities also require enormous effort in terms of time and coordination. From the new freshman wanting to take a more active role in college life to the faculty involved with advising or overseeing the group, everyone involved is required to devote additional time out of his or her already busy schedule. For students, finding out about meetings, keeping up with events, and taking time to sign up for them can be a hassle. Faculty and student leaders also have their share of frustration, attempting to coordinate an organizations many meetings, service projects, and fundraisers. Announcing events, taking and canceling registrations, sending out confirmations, reminders, and thank-you emails: all of this can be a logistical nightmare, leading to wasted time and money.
As a case in point, the Ohio State Universitys Fisher College of Business (FCOB) was recently looking for a way to streamline its nearly twenty student organizations. The college, tucked within the nations largest university of over 59,000 students, naturally had its share of challenges attempting to coordinate events. We were getting a lot of complaints from students, remarked Janet Sanfilippo, Associate to the Dean at FCOB. People were relying almost entirely on their personal email to send invitations, register as attendees, and make schedule changes and updates. There were just too many emails flying around, and no central place for students to check the schedule. Events were often overlapping unnecessarily, and our students were having trouble keeping it all straight.
FCOBs solution to its coordination dilemma came in the form of an online scheduling software package. Their choice, VolunteerHub, provides that central place to communicate, view, and store event schedules. Everything is in one website, Sanfilippo states. [Event coordinators] can post their events and quickly communicate schedule updates. Students then open the site at any time to peruse the scheduled events and sign up for those of most interest to them. Tracking registrations is just as easy. Theres no more endless stream of emails required.
Student leaders agree with Sanfilippo. Steven Koons, vice president of FCOBs Masters of Accounting student group, uses the application to schedule and track attendance for a monthly luncheon speaker series. The system greatly simplifies my life, he says. I was getting a ton of email every day, so I didnt have time to deal with much more. Now, VolunteerHub keeps my event-related correspondence to a minimum.
FCOB student Jacob Cannon coordinates a luncheon series for the schools Real Estate Society. Saving time and assuring accuracy thats what I like most, says Cannon. Before, it was tough to keep track of who was coming to our events and what other student events we might be competing with. Now I can see the whole schedule at a glance and get an up-to-the-minute report of who has signed up for a particular speaker.
Laine Powers, an MBA candidate and a Graduate Administrative Associate at FCOB, accesses the site practically every day to coordinate speakers, conferences, seminars, networking events, and more. The system, Powers says, has helped FCOB plan student events efficiently. He explains, At many events, we like to encourage student participation by providing refreshments. Before, we didnt always have a good grasp on how many students would be attending a particular event. From email response, buzz on campus, and our past experience, we might think that 50 people were coming, and wed or der food accordingly. But then we could potentially end up getting many fewer attendees. It was a shame when food and expense would go to waste.
Powers adds that the scheduling software has given student leaders and administrators a better understanding of what students need and want from FCOB events. We track exactly what types of students are attending what types of events, he says. We also get a sense for which groups of students may be underserved by our current offerings.
Fisher College of Business success is proof-positive that colleges and universities are taking advantage of the latest technologies, streamlining services and allowing students to maximize their time spent out of the classroom. From the administrative side, organizers can use the real-time data to quickly assess event attendance. For students of all types traditional, part-time, and non-traditional”online scheduling provides 24/7 access to event information and registration, granting students access to information when their schedule allows. Now campus organizations and clubs can focus more on their activities and less on coordinating them.