This past Friday, UR became an innovator in centrally organizing student groups. The Campus Club Connections Web site provides a Web interface for all student groups to organize their events, member lists and room reservations.

CCC is a database program with an easy-to-use web interface, designed to provide a single place for students, groups, and the Student Activities Office to input and access group data. The Web site also provides a centralized location for groups to publicize their activities on a comprehensive calendar. It was designed and implemented by junior Joshua Shapiro and senior Ankur Pansari.

“Having one place to have all the meetings, activities, presentations and programs is much more student friendly,” Director of Wilson Commons and Student Activities Anne-Marie Algier said. “We’re really excited. It is just not something we’ve had the staff resources to do.”

The system works by allowing student groups to input their own information into a database via their club site on the university server, accessed through the living section. Member information, including names, class years, home towns, majors, dorm rooms and preferred e-mail address is then stored for further use. Officers can be denoted by use of a drop down selection, which includes choices such as president, vice president, treasurer, and the ability to define other position titles.

All the information will be available to the student group leader and the SAO. Other departments here have expressed interest in using the system, but Algier stressed the attention being given to privacy.

“No one [else] can access the group’s private site,” Algier said.

Requests for room reservations are also now being handled through the program, reducing the amount of paperwork and streamlining the process.

Student groups can also input the information for meetings, events and activities. The information is then displayed on a main calendar on the main page of the CCC. Students, or anyone who stumbles upon the Web site, can browse the calendar to find out what events are happening. Events are displayed for the current

date, and can be searched by date.

In addition to its organizational aspects, CCC automatically generates mailing lists based on the stored member list. Lists are automatically created for group members, officers and also a prospective mailing list for people who are interested in the group.

“People who are interested in these groups can easily just click and add themselves to the mailing list,” Algier said.

CCC will also be used to help connect current clubs with prospective students more effectively than has been done in the past.

“The Web site will be sent out to incoming freshmen and prospective students,” Pansari said.

Pansari and Shapiro know what it is like to try to organize an SA group, as they are the founders of the Business and Investment club.

“Having two students design it is better because they know what students use and want,” Algier said.

The needs of the groups have always been foremost to the project, but it was originally conceived of as a service for the Alumni Office.

“Starting in February, John LaBoda approached me with this idea for a centralized database for the Alumni Office to contact current club members,” Pansari said. “We consulted with some clubs to find out what would make it useful to campus.”

“Once there was a request, we met with the SAO, [Dean of Students] Jody Asbury and the Alumni Office,” Shapiro said. “Their immediate response was, ‘Wow, this is exactly what we’ve been looking for.'”

“I think what they’re doing with the Campus Club Connection is absolutely extraordinary,” Dean of Students Jody Asbury said. “I think it is also a great tradition of students taking leaderships roles.”

“After the semester ended in the spring, we took a short break. We spent most of June creating a basic prototype,” Shapiro said. “We presented to all of the people involved at the end of June.”

“It was received very well,” Pansari said. “We went forth [from the meeting] with a specific list of features to implement and the intention of doing them well.”

“Most of our July and August were spent 12 hours a day doing a lot of programming,” Shapiro said.

The programming was completed by the start of the school year, but was delayed due to unforeseen technological difficulties.

“Since then we’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback from clubs,” Pansari said.

Pansari and Shapiro are looking to improve the system as different needs arise and they are able to expand the system.

“We hope in the future we can add forms to manage budgeting,” Shapiro said.

“We plan on adding a feature where individual students can check and see what information the system has on them.”

Already, other schools are expressing interest in the program, according to the pair, and they are willing to expand.

“We hope to take it to other schools as well, now that we have the system developed and some experience,” Pansari said.

To visit the CCC, go to www.rochester.edu/living/organizations/.

Miller can be reached at amiller@campustimes.org.



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