In fall 2019, the Student Life Office (SLO) announced a new electronic platform—Haverford Engage. In an email to the Haverford student body in August, the SLO said Engage “will be used for all student organization management,” including an extensive calendar of student-oriented events and application portholes for different committees and Task Forces. Starting in spring 2020, clubs will also submit their budgets through Engage.
“We wanted to get all of the information that is relevant to our clubs and organizations and, frankly, our office in terms of processes into one place. It was very decentralized between Web sites, Facebook pages, Google forms, and supersecret forums that all lived in different places,” said Mike Elias, the Dean of Student Engagement & Divisional Initiative at Haverford.
Through Engage, the SLO office can help keep track of Haverford’s approximately 130 clubs and receive access to club rosters. Engage also offers a way to clubs to upload archival data, a feature Elias hopes will strengthen institutional memory relating to student life.
All club leaders were required to attend training on February 1 to learn about Engage, the new budgeting and reimbursement processes through the platform, and how to upload their club events.
The Haverford Democrats are one club that regularly uses Engage to advertise their events—especially since many of their meetings are open to the general public. Talia Goerge-Karron ’22, co-head of the club, has been using Engage since the platform debuted in the fall.
However, Goerge-Karron notes many logistical issues with the platform when it comes to uploading events. When asked to elaborate, she offered suggestions on how to improve Engage.“I think some kind of faster process where you can copy an event you’ve already done or something like that would make it a little bit simpler. Also, currently, I believe that the only people that can add events to Engage are the heads of a club. So I can’t delegate the task to another board member, which would be really useful,” Goerge-Karron said.
Despite the SLO’s ambitious goals for Engage, many students are skeptical that Engage will regularly be used by the student body. When asked if she thought the Haverford Democrats had gained new members through Engage, Goerge-Karron said: “absolutely not.”
“It’s a little bit difficult to change the mindset of a whole student body and take them off of Facebook, off email and move them to a new platform. So I think there is a learning curve. I just don’t know how successful it’s going to be just because [students’] lives are already so inundated with the Internet and different platforms,” said Goerge-Karron.
This “learning curve” might be a steep one; some students have never heard of the platform, much less interacted with it. When asked what she thought of Haverford Engage, Marisa LaBarca ’21, co-head of the Badminton Club and member of the Pre-Vet Society, said, “I have no idea what that is.”