Online platform for student engagement

Victoria Olaleye, Reporter

Crew is an online platform that allows interaction with Park University students as well as faculty members of the school.

Mya Lawrence, director of student engagement, said Crew, which has been around for about two years, is a platform to engage all the student body in regard to student activities.

“Our idea behind Crew was to give student organizations a platform to be able to connect with students in their organization as well as outside of their organization,” Lawrence said.

She also said the platform is a way to engage prospective students who have been admitted in order to give them the idea of a day in the life of a Park student.

Students are encouraged to use Crew in order to keep up with the events on campus. Lawrence said students who say there is nothing to do on campus can get information they need on Crew through different student organizations.

She also said even though Student Life sends emails to students weekly on activities and updates on student organizations, they want Crew to be a platform where students can look into any organization at any time. The platform serves as a one-stop destination for students.

Lawrence said students don’t follow everyone on social media, but Crew offers a platform where everyone connects.

“Crew is that one spot that everybody has access to in order to be able to connect with each other,” she said.

She also said they are working to make the platform more engaging for students by letting them know the benefits and reasons to use it in order to get them on it on a regular basis.

Lawrence said she has been trying to reach out to student organizations to use it, and there have been some changes as the organizations have been making updates. For student organizations, Lawrence mentioned that it is important for the clubs and organizations to use Crew because that is where their meeting minutes are saved.

She also said if the organizations want to request money from Park Student Government Association the only way the requests can be granted is if the meeting minutes are in Crew. She also said groups on campus need to use Crew because the Crew platform is the first place any new student will get to learn more about clubs and organizations before the semester activities fair.

Victoria Staerke, a sophomore in interior design major and president of Park International Club said they use Crew as well as their Facebook group to post their weekly reminders. However, she said they still get people asking about their meetings because they didn’t check Crew.

She said when it was in Canvas, people got the notifications turned on and the email system made it easy, but now people have to do something in order to get the information which makes it difficult for people to use it as much.

Staerke said she uses the platform more as the president of the club compared to when she didn’t take the role yet.  She said she has realized that it is easy to use, and she can see what’s going on every day through the platform.

She also said students just have to start using it to figure it out, but the challenging part is getting people to start using it in the first place.

Stefanie Rettenbacher, graduate assistant for Student Life, said she posts twice a week on the platform as she posts about different topics. She said she works with CampusWell, a website that posts a variety of college health issues. They cover stories about sleep, stress, fitness, nutrition and overall health of students. She said she looks into their posts and reposts them on their Crew group page.

She said she also posts events and relevant information on the page and students who use Crew are the first ones to find out about events. She said student engagements on their Crew page depends on the topic she posts. Rettenbacher said Pirate Fitness doesn’t have any social media page, and Crew is the online platform they use.

Lawrence said they are hoping more student organizations use it the way they should on a regular basis as it is a big population of students which will in turn affect how students will use it. She also said students can come up with their suggestions on how the platform can create a better engagement.

“The main purpose of Crew is so you can know what is going on. The whole Crew is, this is my crew, my group of people,” Lawrence said. “If you think about it, like a pirate ship, you have a crew… You engage with your crew.”

For prospective Park University students, they do not have access to the platform until they are registered for classes. Lawrence said it is a way for them to start to use Crew earlier and engage with the community.

“We are just trying to build more of a culture that is not just inclusive but connected,” Lawrence said.

The online platform is available to mostly Parkville students. However, students who are not attending the Parkville campus can request access to Crew. One of the main reasons why students in other campus centers don’t have access to it is because most of the events on the calendar are held in the Parkville campus and most of the participants are Parkville students. However, this doesn’t stop them from using the online platform to connect and engage with other students.

Step-by-step processes to use crew include logging in and updating your student profile by updating a profile picture, filling out the About Me page and the program you are studying. Check the activity log to keep track of events and organizations having them.

The Discover tab also shows the clubs and organizations available on campus for students to join them.  The Upcoming Events tab gives information to students on the events at Park University.