New bill system to be developed

The SGA is sponsoring a $5000 campus-wide competition to replace JacketPages with a student-designed system. This competition aims to address various concerns raised by campus organizations and members of both the Undergraduate House of Representatives (UHR) and the Graduate Student Senate (GSS).

JacketPages is an online system intended to facilitate the work of student organizations and the SGA. It has two major components: a social side that provides student organizations a useful networking tool and a financial side that provides SGA a platform for submitting bills and funding requests. The website costs $13,000 a year to maintain.

Users of the current system have lobbed criticism at the cost, updates, and lack of functionality.

“There are a host of issues with the software,” said Matlock Rogers, vice president of campus organizations and third-year ISyE major. “It’s causing our meetings in the House and Senate to last an extra hour or hour and a half. It’s not helping us work effectively as an organization to serve other student groups on campus.”

“It’s a system designed to meet the needs of more than 175 campuses, and most other campuses don’t do as much with their SGA as we do here,” said Graduate Treasurer Evan McClain. “So it’s not as flexible.”

The guidelines for the competition are laid out in a “Request for Proposal” (RFP) written by an ad-hoc committee chaired by McClain. According to the RFP—available on the SGA website—the main goal of the competition is to replace the JacketPages bill-submission process. The RFP lays out a set of minimum requirements for the bill system—as well as a set of “bonus” features that would increase the prize money.

Initial proposals will be due March 16, including HTML mock-ups and database schemas. The judges do not expect the systems to be fully functional, but to demonstrate the ability to fulfill all requirements. The top three proposals will move on to the final round of judging, and fully functional prototypes will be due April 6. The winning system will receive up to $4000, while the two remaining prototypes will be purchased for $500.

“My administration has always focused on fiscal sustainability and responsibility, and this is much more sustainable,” said Graduate Student Body President Anthony Baldridge. “This is a one-time fee of $5000. This should work. This should be adaptable for the future.”

The panel of judges will include members from both the UHR and GSS, as well as reviewers with the background and expertise to evaluate the code itself. To help clarify the SGA’s bill-submission process and the RFP’s list of requirements, SGA will host a series of information sessions.

“We’ve had a lot of complaints about the current system—that it’s confusing, that it doesn’t make sense,” Rogers said, “I’m excited about replacing JacketPages with something that’s more effective for the students.”

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