Now there is a new way for every busy William & Mary student to organize and record their involvement on campus. In order to give students an interactive space to keep track of their organizations on campus, Information Technology has been helping the Office of Student Leadership Development to develop TribeLink.
TribeLink is a new system that keeps track of all registered student organizations on campus. It is replacing the old Student Organization Directory. TribeLink is William & Mary’s specific version of the Engage platform, a module of Campus Labs that is designed to help universities record and facilitate students’ involvement in activities outside the classroom.
With TribeLink, organizations can keep a roster, schedule and advertise events, and develop their own online presence. Every recognized student organization receives its own page on the site where they can list contact info and post photos, documents or articles related to their club. Individual students will also be able to log service hours and keep track of their club memberships through the site.
The idea for a new website to organize student involvement on campus had been brewing for a while. Student Leadership Development (SLD) approached IT in January 2016 with their need for the new platform, and development for the site started in March 2016.
On the IT side of things, IT Project Manager Kathryn Baldwin and Application Administrator Jake Smith both helped to work with SLD to develop the site. Their first step was to help connect students’ WMuserids to the site. Baldwin described, “From an IT perspective, one of the things we did was provide the data integration for the student information that goes into TribeLink.”
Both Baldwin and Smith said that working with SLD was a great experience and that the office had a clear vision of what they wanted for the new site. “They worked so well with us to fulfill what we think is possibly the best user experience on the web for a student, making it easy to navigate, making it easy to understand, having an appearance that encourages you and makes you excited to get involved on campus,” Smith said.
Their main point of contact was the Associate Director of Student Leadership Development Jennifer Leung. Leung said that the new system helps them achieve their goal of making a student organization website that students could interact with in real time. “It’s been a fun partnership with IT and a fun implementation,” she said.
One of the most exciting aspects of the new TribeLink is how it allows students to create and develop a personal involvement record of their time at the university.
Students’ involvement records will keep track of their commitment to clubs and organizations, creating a file that students can save or download from the site and use to demonstrate their passions on campus. As Smith described, “If you’re applying for a job and you have personal interests which normally aren’t tracked, you can now say here is proof of me being involved with this club, this organization that gives me the experience to say that I can do this job.” Student involvement records may also help guide them to jobs that reflect their interests both in and out of the classroom.
Looking towards the future, TribeLink will also be able to work with card swipe technology to help track students’ attendance. At big events such as freshman orientation events, Smith described, students will be able to swipe in and TribeLink will record their attendance. This will also provide metric data on attendance for such events that can be parsed and analyzed.
Now that TribeLink is up and running, student leaders are logging in to update their organization rosters for the new school year and starting to explore the new features of the site. Both IT and SLD are excited about the new benefits for students. “I am super psyched to see all of these students be able to definitively show what they’re interested in through their campus involvement,” said Smith.