I’m a complete nerd for efficiency, to the point that it’s probably annoying to some people (sorry co-workers). I’ve been this way since I was a kid, just ask my parents.

Since I began my job as the Coordinator of Student Organizations at the University of Central Arkansas one process that has been occasionally frustrating has been the event registration process. Let me outline our current process for you:

  • If a student is registering a non-social event (such as a general meeting or service project) they simply create the event with their portal. There are no forms or approval required. If the want to share that event on the umbrella or community calendar an event approval request is sent to our office.
  • If the event being registered is a social event (such as a mixer or a party) than they must first email campus police for their approval and to make arrangements if an officer needs to be present. Then they fill out an event registration form (within the forms module in the umbrella) to register their event with our office. After submitting that form, they create an event with their organization’s portal and request to share it on the umbrella calendar so that our office receives a notification to look at the event within their portal.
  • Scheduling a space for either of the scenarios above is it’s own ordeal. If they want a room in the student center, the organization president or advisor must schedule the room online using the virtual EMS software. If they want to schedule any other space on campus, they need to track down and contact the building administrator for their approval. The conference center scheduling office has graciously helped to try and centralize the process in doing the contacting of building administrators for the students but that uses a different form on OrgSync.
As you can tell, our current process is a little convoluted and difficult to explain. There’s definitely room for improvement!

Just today, I sat through an eight-hour training/planning session to implement virtual EMS scheduling for all spaces on campus. I’m equally ecstatic and terrified about this because it will simplify and expedite the scheduling process for our student groups and give us a true centralized scheduling system but it is a significant change to the way the process has been operating. As anyone who has been through an operational change for anything knows, change, no matter how positive it is is not without it’s hiccups and opposition.

On the OrgSync side we will be changing things significantly as well. Last summer, when OrgSync rolled out their new user interface (which is seriously amazing) they made significant updates to the events management/request system. The way our current process is set up, the only time we use this tool is when a group requests their event to be shared on the umbrella or community calendar; all portal events are automatically approved. However, beginning sometime after spring break our office plans to flip the switch of a few settings which will change and simplify our process significantly:
  • All events that organizations create within their portal will require approval from the student life office instead of being automatically approved by the system.
  • When an organization goes to create an event they will be required to fill out a registration form for all events (not just social events). This form will be part of the event creation process and attached to the event itself, instead of being housed separately outside of the events module.
The form that an organization will be required to fill out will probably have a post (or two) of it’s own on this blog at a later date. Because there are other non-student groups housed within our umbrella, this form will need to have a quick way for any departments or non-student groups to finish the form, as they aren’t held to the same registration policies. However, for student groups the form will require significant amounts of logic in order to make sure that only questions pertinent to the particular event are being asked.

In the coming days I will be sitting down with our GA (who helps manage our student organization events) and we’ll be mapping out logic we will need on the form to deal with every scenario we can think of. From that point we will build out the form (using our current form as a rough base) and test the logic.

As this project evolves and moves forward, I’ll post more updates! I know many campuses use the virtual EMS software so hopefully we’ll be able to help provide some ideas on how we develop how we plan on trying to integrate that into our process as seamlessly as possible.

What has been your experience? Have you been through a similar process? Share your campus process in the comments below!

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