IPFW now has a completely web-based software hosted by Symplicity called Community that allows students to manage all aspects of their groups, clubs and organizations. The Office of Student Life and Leadership implemented the software system in August as a way to give students the ability to easily manage their co-curricular activities.
The Office of Student Life and Leadership worked with Symplicity to implement Community in an attempt to streamline the paper-based process that was used in the past for managing student groups.
“The filing system we used before we had Community was a pen and paper process,” Kasey Price, assistant vice chancellor for student life and leadership, said.
According to Price, this pen and paper process was inconvenient for both staff and self-registering students. Before Community was implemented, students interested in starting a campus organization had to print off the application online, fill it out and return that application to the Office of Student Life and Leadership. The office then stored each student organization application in a paper file. If the student wanted to make changes to that application they had to come back into the office and pull their file to make those changes.
“Community now allows us to digitize those records so that the students can easily manage groups, rosters and activities from within the system,” Price said.
Community also gives students within an organization the ability to find out about events on campus, keep track of event attendance and communicate with other members within the organization.
“Community is really beneficial to the members of the Active Minds group because it helps us plan out our events and lets us grow our member base a lot more than recruiting in person,” Manal Saeed, president of active minds, said in an email. “It also lets our current members know what we’re planning in advance, so they can plan to be there.”
Transitioning to Community also makes it easier for students to generate and manage their co-curricular transcripts. A co-curricular transcript is a university document that complements a student’s official academic transcript. Community offers a co-curricular transcript tool that allows students to document all of their student organization participation, membership, study-abroad experiences, honors, awards, scholarships and any other campus-based services students are involved in and have achieved throughout their time at IPFW.
In addition to being able to easily manage a student organization and co-curricular transcript, Community also offers a feature to help the campus move forward in some of the other campus community initiatives by sending out the student newsletter known as “True Blue.” According to Alex Wulpi, communications assistant in the office of the chancellor, the chancellor’s office decided to use Community as a platform to send out the student newsletter because it offers message tracking capabilities.
“The message tracking capability lets us know the percentage of the recipients who opened the newsletter,” Wulpi said. “This comes in handy because this information helps guide our decisions about what content to include and whether to adjust the design or layout to increase reader satisfaction.”
Community also adds more well-crafted content to the True Blue newsletter as opposed to sending it out by email through the student LISTSERV. “We didn’t like sending the newsletter out through the student LISTSERV because it was just a wall of text and links.” Wulpi said. “Community allows us to add basic HTML markup and pictures to make it more interesting and aesthetically pleasing.”
All students can login to Community by visiting www.ipfw.edu/my-community and use their current IPFW student username and password to access their personal profiles. Once students are logged on, they can create an event request, co-curricular transcript and find out about other student organizational events happening on campus.