For almost a year, Student Senate has been working to bring a campus wide phone app to Pacific University.
It started with the Executive Members of the Student Senate Staff from last fiscal year and is being continued and finished by this year’s staff along with many other groups and departments in the Pacific community by the beginning of spring semester.
Partnering with Kurogo, a mobile website, IOS and Android App developer, students, faculty, alumni and prospective students should be able to expect the app to launch at the start of the spring 2016 semester.
Vice President of Communications for Student Senate, Cameron Chow, is currently leading the project and working with the Marketing and Communications Departments, the University Information Services department, the Technology Information Center and the EMS team to bring it all together.
“We are making sure that the URLs can go into our app, we are talking to Athletics and the library and then we send that off to Kurogo and they start building it and they send us back what they’ve done and we take it to the students,” said Steve Klein, Director of Student Life. “By October they will be building it and by November we would like to do some testing of the app and we would probably see the app launched in January or the first week of the second semester.”
For users, the app will be designed to be tailored to the needs of undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, alumni or prospective students.
“The way it will be set up is that there will be different editions of the app for faculty, alumni, community (visitor or prospective students) or current students,” said Chow. “You can select which user you are when you first open the app and it will tailor to what things will be offered.”
Most of what will be offered on the app will be designed to make it easier to stay connected to the events in campus life.
Chow and the rest of the development team are working to have the Event Managing System, EMS, connected with the app so that students can see what is happening on campus either at that moment or a few weeks ahead on their phones.
In order to ensure that campus groups are able to have their events show up on the calendar, all groups are required to send one person to the Leadership Workshop Sept. 18 and 19.
At this workshop students and will learn how to correctly use the calendar system and have it connect correctly to be marketed on the app, the campus calendar and on the digital signage in the U.C. and in Marsh Hall on the televisions.
“All clubs and departments on campus are required to be (at the Leadership Workshop) or they don’t get their club funding,” said Chow. “They are required to have EMS training which is crucial for the app because if they aren’t using EMS correctly then their advertisements and their calendar updates won’t be added to the app. What we are going to try and do is to try and train all of the clubs on campus so that we can share the workload.”
In order for this app to function the way that Chow, Klein and the rest of the Student Senate envisions, activity groups on campus will be required contribute to running the app.
“If everyone uses the calendar it will populate the app. It will be athletic events, plays concerts ACE Board things, intramural things; we want to make sure we have that all out there, easily accessible,” said Klein. “I do think that it will be an asset to your toolbox. The things that you do to go through school, this will be helpful.”
Not only is the app going to provide easy access to campus life, but it will also serve as a tool that students can use in their academic lives.
Student Senate is in the process of trying to merge their Kurogo based app with Colleague, the program that Pacific University uses to register students for classes.
Klein said this process is a big challenge and Student Senate is determined to make sure it works flawlessly.
“Getting Colleague onto our platform will be a big step because you can’t screw up class schedules,” said Klein. “It would be encrypted in such a way that it is very, very clean, very straight forward, people aren’t mislead, it’s got to be good and that’s going to be a challenge.”
In to November, Student Senate hopes to be ready to do a soft launch of the app and is asking for students from all different corners of campus to help with testing and giving feedback.
“I think the students will shine some light on the way like this is what we really meant, not that,” said Klein. “I think it’s going to be advantageous to have the students voice all the way when they are paying for it.”
There is a lot of work to be done still, but after a year of discussion, planning and weighing the options, an app is on its way.