SORC adopts new website

By Mark Pesto / Senior Staff Writer

In an effort to make running student groups easier, Pitt’s Student Organization Resource Center has given its online management program a facelift.

Launched in September, SORC has been working to transition to using CollegiateLink, a site designed for organization management and event scheduling, as its new student group management system. College assessment provider Campus Labs, which more than 750 colleges and universities use, produced CollegiateLink. Compared to Community, the SORC-run site groups previously used, CollegiateLink modernizes the site’s interface and allows student groups to create forms, schedule events and manage finances online, rather than on paper.

With individualized profile pages for each group, members can post pictures, relevant news articles, club documents — like a group’s constitution — a calendar of events and a roster of all members.

The switch also brings SORC onto the same system the Outside the Classroom Curriculum, Career Development and Placement Assistance and Residence Life already use. With the addition of SORC to the system, Pitt now uses two separate CollegiateLink web addresses, for students to track their OCC and career development progress, and for students to manage their groups. Students can access all of CollegiateLink’s features by logging in to either of the sites using their MyPitt usernames and passwords.

According to Alyson Kavalukas, interim manager of the OCC, Residence Life uses CollegiateLink so Resident Assistants can track event schedules, while CDPA uses it so students can track their progress in the internship preparation program.

Margaret Shuff, an administrative assistant at SORC, said SORC made the change because the outdated Community software didn’t serve its users’ needs. Shuff said the old website was archaic and visually unappealing.

“[CollegiateLink is] a lot more user-friendly,” Shuff said, citing the improved interface and the intuitively organized directory, which allow students to find groups they’re interested in more easily.

SORC staff officially announced the change in an Oct. 1 email to student group officers, but has now transferred all student group information to the new system.

Pete Danielson, treasurer of Pitt’s Club Cross Country Team, said the new interface looks “better, newer, more aesthetically pleasing,” but said the initial switch was slightly inconvenient.

Danielson, a junior economics and actuarial math major, said before his club found out about the switch to CollegiateLink, they had already filled out their club forms on paper and had to resubmit them online.

“We had everyone ready to go in paper, then we had to do it all over again,” Danielson said. Still, he thinks the switch to online waivers will be more efficient and convenient overall.

But the site may not be a go-to for all groups. Gabrielle Hill, president of the Pitt College Democrats, for example, said while she likes the new site and said it’s easy to use, her group relies mostly on Facebook to recruit and keep in touch with members.

“I’m not sure how often it will actually be utilized by interested individuals looking to become a member of a new organization,” Hill said.

For managing the club’s roster and keeping all official club documents, Hill said the site is useful.

“I think the biggest difference is the user-friendly nature of CollegiateLink … It is, in general, much easier to navigate,” Hill said in an email.

According to Shuff, the only difficulty during CollegiateLink’s rollout has involved “getting everyone on the same page.”

For example, she said, members of intramural sports teams and athletic clubs, like Danielson’s, have had to get used to filling out waivers online, rather than on paper.

So far, student feedback has been positive, Shuff said. She said she’s heard students have complimented the new interface. Even though his team had an initial difficulty, Danielson said their issues stoppped there.

“Our team has over 100 members, and only a couple of them had any issues,” Danielson said. He added although a few of his teammates have asked him questions about the new site, he hasn’t heard any complaints or negative feedback.

“Some student groups have done really cool things with their pages,” Shuff said.

Danielson, for one, said his team has used the site to post the schedule of their meets, so runners can manage their time throughout the season.

Danielson said it’s too early to tell whether the switch from Community to CollegiateLink will be an improvement, but he’s optimistic.

“In the long run, I think it’ll be easier to use,” he said.

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