SGA officials call for streamlined communication platforms at college

SGA officials call for streamlined communication platforms at college

By Chris Van Buskirk

Several Student Government Association members advocated for the college to consolidate its methods of communication to students at the March 12 Joint Session meeting.

SGA officials voiced their complaints to Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Michaele Whelan during a presentation of data from the National Survey of Student Engagement—a poll that provides an estimate of how first-year students and seniors spend their time at universities and colleges.

The college uses emConnect to share news about student organizations, eCommon for student information, and Emerson Today for public relations announcements and news, among other outlets.

Chief Justice Brilee Carey said the number of places the college uses to share information with the community frustrates her. 

“There’s the Emerson website which links you to the student pages of the Emerson website, which links you to emConnect and eCommon and Emerson Today,” she said. “There are so many different places to find repeating information.”

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Whelan said she was surprised to hear students requesting one consolidated form of communications.

“I think because we are a school of communications, we’re creating all these different ways [to communicate](,) and yet students are feeling bombarded by them,” Whelan said.

The college hired a consultant on a one-time contract in February 2018 to analyze the college’s communication methods with students following the #ThisIsEmersonProtest in October 2017. Consultant Kristina Smith said that the college should send messages through multiple platforms and that emails should come 24 hours after the event that prompts the emails with links containing further information.

Performing Arts Senator Josh Schussler said he does not suggest the college create a new platform for communication, but rather pick one already in use and consolidate information on it.

“Whether that’s eCommon, whether that’s emConnect, I don’t know. But I think the general sentiment that I’ve gathered from a lot of people is, ‘I just want one place that’s always going to be there, that’s always updated, that’s always correct, that is easy to navigate,'” Schussler said.

Visual and Media Arts Senator Somari Davis said several platforms have similar names and don’t answer specific questions students might have. Davis, who works at the Equipment Distribution Center, said she could not find the EDC phone number on any platform.

“You cannot find it because the school has gone through a lot of changes. There are a lot of dead pages … that give you false information,” Davis said.

Davis said if the college presents eye-catching information on online social platforms people might remember it more and return to the medium.  

Executive President Jessica Guida said the college directs students to too many places to find information. The introduction of Emerson Today was originally intended to help fix this issue, Guida said.

The goal was to attack the problem of communication,” Guida said. “ Did it do that yet? No, I don’t think so. [Emerson Today] is another platform. We have all these other platforms. We have the Emerson website. We have emConnect. We have eCommon … there are too many things.”