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Penn State Student Organizations Get A Makeover With OrgCentral

One of the great things about attending a school as large as Penn State is the plethora of opportunities available to students to get involved. With more than 1,000 clubs and organizations, there’s bound to be something out there that piques your interest.

Until recently, the Office of Student Activities — which effectively oversees all of Penn State’s student organizations — was using an outdated online platform from 2012 to keep track of all of its clubs. But thanks to funding from the Student Fee Board, the website they utilize has gotten a makeover.

“We are incredibly grateful to them for this opportunity,” said Jenn Grossman Leopard, the assistant director for the Office of Student Activities. “We went through the hearing process, like any other group from the fee, and funding started last year to get access to the platform.”

Previously, the university utilized a platform known as the E-Student Union, which was a live database of all current student organizations at the University Park campus. While E-Student Union got the job done, it was not an ideal platform by any means.

The database had a pretty simple layout and its functionality was basic at best. This made it hard for the Office of Student Activities to compile accurate records of organizations membership totals, planned activities, and exec board layouts.

In place of E-Student Union, the Office of Student Activities is launching a new database that they’re calling OrgCentral. Every Penn State campus is gaining access to the same platform layout through a third-party vendor and each one will be able to name the platform.

“We will be able to give groups a heck of a lot more ability to shape what they provide to us,” Grossman Leopard said.

Of course, all recognized student organizations will still need to meet the basic requirements to remain recognized — an officer list, a list of at least 10 members, and mandatory training for certain officers — but they’ll be able to provide this information much more efficiently.

With OrgCentral, all members of student organizations will have pages from which they can access their club’s OrgCentral landing page. The landing page will provide executive board members the opportunity to upload documents (like their club’s constitution) for all organization members to reference. Previously, with E-Student Union, only executive board members had access to this kind of information.

In addition to this, organizations will be able to present an exhaustive list of all of their club’s executive board members. In the past, only a club’s president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer were officially recorded and recognized by the university on E-Student Union.

Now with the rollout of OrgCentral, clubs will be able to keep tabs on all of their organization’s leadership on their landing page. Of course, there will still be the same standard preset officer positions, and all organizations will still need to have a president and treasurer at a minimum, but now clubs will also be able to customize their individual officer positions beyond these constraints.

Moreover, student org leaders will be able to add and upload current membership lists en masse, instead of one-by-one as they had to do with E-Student Union.

They can even post announcements, track event attendance, and upload images to their page’s photo gallery. What an organization decides to do with their landing page is up to them — exec board members are in control of who gets to see what and to what extent.

The tentative launch date for the new system is Monday, February 11. Currently, E-Student Union is still available for all Penn State organizations in script form.

Despite the launch of OrgCentral, E-Student Union will remain open to the public until March 1. This is a deliberate move so that even after OrgCentral’s launch next week, student clubs can go back and compare their organization’s new page with the old one.

The Office of Student Activities is also offerring optional student training sessions from now through the end of April to help acclimate all student organizations to the new database. For more information on these training sessions and the OrgCentral launch as a whole, check out the platform’s homepage.

“We really want students to be able to take advantage of the full capability of the platform,” Grossman Leopard said. “I’m really hoping will see some good, increased usage of it.”

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About the Author

Emma Dieter

Emma is a senior from the ever-popular "right-outside" Philly area studying labor employment relations and PR. She's also the Student Life editor for Onward State. She has been a Penn Stater from cradle and will continue to bleed blue and white, 'til grave. She loves trashy romance novels, watching Netflix, and crying over cute videos of dogs. If you ever want to talk more with her about how great she is, or simply have other inquiries, feel free to email her at [email protected]

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