69°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Collegiate Link software to ease paperwork for student clubs

Many believe that club involvement is a great way to get the most from a college experience, but it can also be an unorganized nightmare of paperwork and bureaucracy. Students submit request forms, track down administrators for approval, keep track of finances and members, all while maintaining the daily functions of their organizations.

This process of paper and footwork could change at UMass Boston with the introduction of SA Link. The program is made by Collegiate Link, a web-based software company from Boston that, according to their website, “streamlines the communication process” for student clubs and organizations.

SA Link is essentially Facebook for the Chess Club. Students log into a personal account that keeps track of the news and activities for each club they are involved in. It gives access to various club documents, such as member rosters and bulletins, and lets each student keep track of their extracurricular participation, much like a resume of club involvement.

Each club also has a public profile that includes a description of the organization, contact information, and a general forum where members can post public announcements that interested students can visit. This tool lets all students check out what different clubs are up to and see if they want to get involved.

For groups, SA Link is a one-stop spot for club management, keeping all paperwork and documents in one place for easy reference. Students can submit space and budget requests through on-line forms and maintain electronic files, making long-term club management more convenient.

UMass Boston will also be utilizing SA Finance, where organizations can monitor available funds and view itemized spending. Each group can set user access for different officer positions, so you can make sure only the club Treasurer can request money for pizza.

Aaron Severs, a recent college graduate and CEO of Collegiate Link, realized the need for an efficient system of co-curricular organization during his involvement with the Sailing Club at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

“I would spend 5-10 hours a week just on paperwork,” he said. Then he followed the frustration of trying to piece together a club’s past activities and members from a jumbled collection of scattered notes and files. Severs wanted to create “a central place for student application and student life.”

Kelly Meehan, Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, thinks that SA Link will also help student organizations with long-term policy planning. Starting the year with a specific budget, instead of requesting funds bit by bit throughout the year, will help groups prioritize how much of their money should go towards different functions and resources. The online process will also provide greater transparency, allowing administrators to review group activities and participation trends.

UMass Boston is planning a slow campus roll-out of SA Link, with student training beginning at the end of September. It will take some time to get everyone familiar with the new system, but Meehan is thinking long-term. “We might have to take a few steps back to tackle a step forward,” she said, “but after that we’ll be off running.”