By Ben Suazo, Assistant News Editor
CollegiateLink: it's an online social network that lets clubs coordinate with their members and each other, to easily promote information and events on and off campus for the benefit of everyone. But have you heard of it?
"No…yeah. Maybe," said junior Samantha Ferrara, while waiting for CPK.
"No, I have not," answered senior Andrew Harris, from behind the Axinn Library security desk.
"No," said junior Joe Dewan, a transfer student, while loitering outside the library.
To help students understand how CollegiateLink could be useful for them, I asked Billy Finnegan, Mike Hershfield and Jimmy Wells of SGA to explain the website.
"CollegiateLink is a social networking tool for clubs that allows them to connect with other organizations on campus," said Finnegan, Public Relations Chair. "[It] allows clubs immediate access to their budgets so that they always know the status of their funding… It further provides a place for clubs to store their important documents, so [the documents] stay with their club during transitions from year to year instead of going missing when members graduate."
"They're calling it the ‘Facebook for Clubs,' which is a great way to describe it," said sophomore Alex Demarest. Demarest is president of the Hofstra Versus Zombies club, which has 79 members on CollegiateLink. He said he has used the site to contact other club presidents and has found the website works "great."
The networking perks of CollegiateLink are not being implemented by Hofstra's club life alone. The site is open to Greek Life, as well as graduate clubs and university clubs not funded by SGA, according to Finnegan.
"People just don't know about it yet," Demarest said. "If students were made aware of the program, the campus could become so much more active with people discovering organizations they never knew we had, or finding out there isn't an organization they want and creating the program."
Katie Coe, who is Co-Captain of the Equestrian Team, described how she came to appreciate the resource, which has been available to clubs for over a year.
"Basically, when we first started using CollegiateLink last year, we were all unsure about it; and being the Treasurer of the Equestrian Team last year, I didn't know how to use it at all, or what it was really even for," Coe said. "[T]his year with SGA continuously reminding us about how to use it, and what we can do with it, we, along with other clubs that I've spoken to, have gotten a good handle on it. It's become a very helpful tool, especially for sports teams: once all of our members get onto it, we can communicate with them through it."
Coe said that the website is particularly useful because it forwards messages to members' emails within the club. She has also found it useful that documents can be uploaded for members to download, and when the club needed to communicate with SGA, Equestrian Team was able to transfer documents directly through CollegiateLink.
"Basically, everything is on there—and that's the major benefit, its organized so you know where to go for everything, and where to keep everything. It's definitely a good system."
Jimmy Wells, Chairman of the Rules Committee, noted that the website has been a streamlined alternative to the old way of documenting with clubs.
"The resources SGA had before CollegiateLink did not provide these services as efficiently, nor [were the services] as conveniently located; information was hard to come by," Wells said. "Additionally, the database that SGA used to maintain club information is on a computer that crashed… having this information on the web is much more reliable and accessible."
Hershfield noted that for SGA, CollegiateLink is a convenient place to keep track of club e-boards and communicate efficiently with them. Currently, 196 graduate and undergraduate clubs are registered.
"CollegiateLink is an invaluable and incomparable resource if used properly," Finnegan said. "Clubs have never had such direct access to their own information, let alone certain information from other organizations, perhaps organizations they would like to co-sponsor an event with or work with in some other fashion. It's a fantastic opportunity for clubs to start making their events, happenings, and doings more campus exposed."
Wells added, "It can only be as good of a resource as SGA and the clubs and organizations make it. If we do not use CollegiateLink to its fullest potential, then CollegiateLink is going to be a waste of time, but if everyone uses it, well then, we are going to find it to be an exceptional tool."