Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Most engagement for emConnect comes from incoming students

SEAL’s use of emConnect during New Student Orientation makes incoming students its largest user base. Cullen Granzen / Beacon Staff

Statistics show incoming students use emConnect more than any other group at the college, according to the Office of Student Engagement and Leadership.

During the fall 2018 New Student Orientation, SEAL used emConnect to provide incoming students the orientation schedule. Director of SEAL Jason Meier said new students are the most active users on the platform and 71 percent of students logged in to the platform more than four times categorizing them as an engaged user.

Resident Assistants and Fraternity-Sorority Life organizations are the second largest group to use emConnect, according to Assistant Director of SEAL Andrew Donahue. The CampusLabs database also collects other information, like how the event blog page attracts the most visitors of the whole site, and students who log-in to emConnect browse the platform for an average of 12 minutes. The college also used the website for a voter registration drive to increase Emerson’s student voter turnout percentage for midterm elections.

SEAL designed emConnect spring 2017 as a social platform to provide students with an outlet for information related to organizations and events on campus, according to Donahue. EmConnect provides lists of events, forms, group pages, and announcements. Student leaders can also use it to advertise their organization’s events and communicate with students, as well as use the platform to manage their member enrollment and budget.

Gregorio Leon, board member of Artful Comics, said when he mentioned emConnect to people at the organization fair, almost all of them didn’t know what it is.

“Right now it is just a place to keep our mailing list and submit forms,” he said. “That part is really helpful, that we don’t have to hand in a physical copy of every form to them.”

Even though new students were encouraged during orientation to join at least one organization related to their major and one related to personal interests, Meier said a student at Emerson is involved in 3.5 organizations on average. The definition of being a member of a club is not clearly stated.

Freshman Danielle Fineza is involved in three organizations at the college. She said she uses emConnect to learn about information regarding organizations and events happening on campus.

“I think emConnect is relatively easy to use and it is helpful to have so much information in one place,” Fineza said.

Unlike Emerson, colleges such as Tufts University and Harvard College use their homepage to provide lists of campus organizations. Generally, they are located in separate sections across the site. Students are then encouraged to contact organizations through the email address provided on the list.

Before emConnect launched in August 2017, organizations at the college could only use social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, and the bi-annual organization fair to advertise and connect with members, according to Donahue.

Student leaders now fill out a form on emConnect if they wish to advertise an event on the site. They are required to provide details of the event and answer questions making sure the event complies with school policies. Once completed, SEAL approves the form within one to two hours on weekdays and then places the events on the site, according to Donahue.

Emerson’s Advancement Group for Love and Expression Board Member James Manley said emConnect helped the organization spread the word and keep track of people who attended their activities. But he said he wished SEAL would approve events on the site faster.

“I haven’t had too much bug with emConnect other than it takes a day or two for the event to get approved,” he said.

Donahue said emConnect is a digital continuous version of the organization fair—allowing students to involve themselves with clubs year-round. However, not every organization is in favor of using emConnect.

Donahue said SEAL works with focus groups made up of students from different organizations to make emConnect more accessible to students.

“It is a working process, and I think students have been really receptive to using it,” Donahue said. “I think it could be a more effective tool, but I am really content with the progress and how it changes the way students get involved.”

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