Kelly Gallagher ’22
In a year when it’s more valuable than ever to connect to the community, the College of the Holy Cross will be introducing a new platform to make interaction easier. MyHC is a CampusGroups platform which has been personalized for the needs of the Holy Cross community. The exciting student engagement platform will facilitate a number of campus interactions – between offices and students, between clubs and students, and between students themselves. One of the greatest advantages of the platform is that it will be available as a mobile app as well as a web platform, giving students greater flexibility.
When the College shifted to a remote format in the spring semester, community members from all over campus sought to maintain and cultivate their connections, prompting the creation of the website Bringing the Hill to You. Many offices also became more involved on social media, but as Michelle Bata, Associate Dean for Student Engagement, shared with The Spire, there wasn’t “one place where everyone across the college could go to input all their news, information, events, and programs,” nor was there “one place where students could go and find all of that.” The dispersed technology can be frustrating, so Dean Bata, along with Sandra Burke, Coordinating Assistant to the SGA and Manager for the RSO Center, began to search for a campus engagement platform which would centralize most information, which brought them to CampusGroups.
The team is thrilled by CampusGroups’ offerings. “We refer to it as the Cadillac of all these student engagement platforms because it really is the most robust,” Dean Bata said. The organization makes it very easy to personalize a school’s platform, and its customer support has been able to add features developed specifically for Holy Cross.
The College agreed to invest in the platform. Because the platform will touch all corners of campus, Dean Bata and Burke wanted to bring in perspectives from Academic Affairs and the Center for Career Development. The pair was joined by Chris Ricciardi, Assistant Director of the J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World, and Arica Clauson, Marketing & Communications Manager for the Center for Career Development.
The platform will support all sorts of communications across campus. It will allow clubs to communicate with their members and grow their membership, and it will allow offices to communicate more effectively with students. It’ll be easier for offices to remind students about deadlines. As Ricciardi stated, “CampusGroups really gives us the opportunity to highlight those office-to-student communications. It’s another way we can get really important information out there.”
RSOs can use MyHC to function more effectively. They will be able to communicate with club members more efficiently, and they will be able to reach new members. They’ll be able to schedule events, create fliers and newsletters, and easily advertise those events, as well as track how successful those events are in terms of student engagement. Functions such as RSO re-recognition, SGA budgeting and funds request, and roster management will transfer over from Moodle to MyHC, as well as campus elections.
The platform will also allow students to find new opportunities to pursue their interests and connect with other students. As Burke said, “It gives students a tool to find what they don’t know. That’s for programs, college offices, student groups, so I think that’s a really good tool for students and they can search it whenever.” The platform will perhaps be especially useful for incoming students who aren’t yet familiar with the campus’ offerings. Burke shared an example of this: “Let’s say I’m a first-year student and I have a strong interest in sustainability, but I have no idea what exists on campus that’s geared toward that interest. I can just search ‘sustainability’ and every group, every event, every user who’s identified that as their interest will pop up. It populates that information for you when you don’t know where to search.”
In addition to giving students the ability to find classmates with shared interests, the platform will also provide a directory, in which students will be able to look up peers who live near them. This could help students forge connections both during quarantine, if they’re feeling disconnected from the community and wish to find a fellow HC student near them, and after the community returns to campus.
Clauson believes MyHC will also help students to enjoy opportunities they might otherwise lose track of. With the deluge of emails students receive each day, Clauson said “a lot of things can get lost, whether it’s an opportunity or even a music thing to watch. I think students might have interest in that, but they start their work and the emails get lost. This is going to be a great way for them to have everything they’re interested in and excited about all in one place, just right on their phone, and it’s going to be easy for them to check those things and be reminded when events are happening. That’s going to be a game-changer just across the campus.”
Many RSO leaders have already attended training sessions over the past month in order to begin getting the hang of MyHC’s features. The implementation team is excited to launch MyHC to the broader community in the upcoming weeks.