Students Speak: On the Transition to OrgSync

Photo by Sara Schmitt

Since the end of Fall 2015, student leaders have been working to transition their organizations’ web pages from JacketPages, Tech’s old database of organizations that connected the student body with the Student Government Association (SGA) and organizations around campus, to OrgSync, a new and improved version of JacketPages with a user-friendly interface and new features. Students can use their Tech accounts to create personalized profiles with calendars that automatically add events based on subscriptions and receive notifications from clubs and organizations that they are currently in or have expressed interest in.

The general consensus from leaders of organizations on campus was that JacketPages was useless. “JacketPages is outdated,” said Thanh Nguyen, a third-year BME and President of Engineering World Health. “It lacked essential features for student leaders and was unappealing for potential members.”

Communication was a recurring problem when using JacketPages. Organizations struggled to find ways to communicate events and meetings to members via JacketPages. “Clubs ended up using Google surveys and listservs as the main form of communication, making JacketPages just a list of officers and a description of the club,” Nguyen said.

Student leaders have welcomed the replacement of JacketPages. New features have made OrgSync easier for executive members or organizations to use, as well as students looking to get involved. “It allows us to track who comes to meetings and also send out mass emails to our members, which is really nice,” said Ryan Jacobs, a third-year ME and Corporate Relations for Tech’s Chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). “OrgSync also lets you host files and forms on their website. The events and calendar are managed a lot better. They have more functionality, and you can also divide members into different groups, which is nice for our exec board, volunteers and general members.”

The transition for some, however, was a little difficult.

“OrgSync is feature rich, organized, and has the potential to be a hub for students looking to get involved,” said Nguyen. “However, the current transition is being handled very poorly by Georgia Tech. Student leaders were told that incoming freshman would be familiar and ready to adopt OrgSync, but that is not the case.”

Along with the newer students on campus, the transition to OrgSync affects older students as well.

“Older students who are not in a position of leadership in any organization have no incentive to learn OrgSync, in terms of participation,” said Nguyen. “The whole point of something like OrgSync is to get more students involved. Getting more students involved means creating visibility for campus events. To reach these older students, organizations will still have to create Facebook events and email blasts.”

However, with any new improvements on campus, whether physical or digital, there will be groups involved that are affected by the change. Hopefully, the straightforward design of the interface will smoothen the transition for students who are more familiar with JacketPages.

Organizations’ leaders also require advisor and departmental approval to change an organization’s profile and contact information, thus slowing down the transition process.

“It is tough to edit the description and update info in OrgSync,” said Jacobs.

Others thought that the transition was worth the effort.

“The process of transitioning was easy,” said Kali Nicholas, fourth-year ME, and VP of Communications for CPC.  “Kelly Cross really did a great job getting organizations informed and on-board. As with any mass data transition or changing of online infrastructure, it was tedious. However, overall, I am really enjoying the functionality and connectivity OrgSync offers. You can manage communication, documents, and membership a lot more easily than in Jacket Pages. I do wish it had some extra features to customize an average user’s, or member’s, or admin’s experience, or could reflect organization rosters more accurately. Overall, I dig the updated look, feel, and features that OrgSync brings to campus and the organizations that call Tech home.”

Despite a rough transition for some, organizations are gradually acclimating themselves to the new interface and integrating OrgSync into the Tech community. Almost 100 student organizations have made the switch. The app has already taken off with “spots” all over the United States. Students can get a head start and download the app on iOS, with the Android version coming soon.