How CampusGroups is Changing Campus Life
For a long time, students have voiced frustration regarding the pile-up of emails from various student organizations and clubs about different events around campus that flood their inboxes everyday. OSL has been working for the last two years on slowly cutting down the amount of emails students receive about club or campus-related events, so that students do not receive an email about every single event that is going on.
“Thanks to a lot of work from our students and office,” OSL Director Jonathan Schwab told The Commentator, “We have a lot of events going on on campus and if you are getting an email [about] every one one of those, you are not reading all of them and then you might not be reading ones about events that are interesting to you.”
As of the recent school year, OSL has introduced CampusGroups, a new platform for organizing campus events. Schwab mentioned that preventing this pile-up of emails has been a strong impetus for introducing a new group and event management system, such as CampusGroups.
OSL had been strongly looking into three different types of campus organizing platforms, but CampusGroups stood out in its ability to offer various capabilities. In addition to organizing club activities, CampusGroups is also a formal platform that creates clubs, clearly lists who is in the club and makes it very easy to communicate with all members of that club. It limits notifications to only those who are members of particular clubs. It also does not require a separate account — students can simply use their school login. Activities can also be capped at a certain point and prevent others from registering, a capability Google Forms, for example, does not have.
CampusGroups has been especially helpful for some activities that require payment. Up until now, collecting money had been a cumbersome and disorganized process. Students pay a small amount of money and the rest is subsidized for their participation. The process would be multi-step, involving students signing-up on a Google Form and then being brought to a payment link. Through CampusGroups, however, students can easily register and pay at once through PayPal.
OSL now has a multi-year plan with CampusGroups. The long term plan is to pilot it for a year for student events and then reach out to other departments in the school so that all relevant student events can be in one place. For example, Schwab mentioned working with the Office of Torah and Spiritual Life and signing up for Shabbos and paying for it there. Essentially, anything related to activities on campus would be found on CampusGroups.
Another future goal is sending out one email at the beginning of the week with a list of all the events that are set to occur during that week with a list to sign up through CampusGroups. This will also help with the overwhelming amount of emails students may receive per day.
When asked about the success thus far of CampusGroups, Schwab pointed to two major events where CampusGroups was very helpful. This year, the entire orientation programming was on CampusGroups and OSL noticed that students who were introduced to it during orientation continued using it throughout the year. Most importantly, Schwab highlighted how significant a role CampusGroups played in organizing the Rally for Israel in DC. Organizing the rally was a massive project and CampusGroups, according to Schwab, played an invaluable role, such as broadcasting information to students who were attending, students being able to easily pick what bus they want, managing bus switches, start and stop registration at a certain time, cap the busses and have a waitlist. “It was worth it to have CampusGroups just to make the Israel rally work,” he said. For such a massive task, a system like Google Forms would not have been sufficient.
However, despite the advantages to using CampusGroups, it has been received with some speculation from students. Some heads of clubs mentioned that they find it easy to see who is attending their events, but have not ventured to use the platform any further and some even mentioned that they are not sure how to use it.
Aliza Billet (SCW ‘26), a club leader of the Writer’s Guild, mentioned that during orientation, students were instructed that they should exclusively use CampusGroups, but were not given much further instruction regarding how to use it.
Talia Feldman (SCW ‘26) stated that she does use CampusGroups very often and once she learned how to use it, “events became a lot easier to organize.” However, “The only drawback I’ve seen so far is that it requires people to sign in, then fill out a form in order to RSVP,” she said. “People don’t really like doing that — they like clicking one button in a WhatsApp poll.”
Billet believes that CampusGroups has potential and once students learn how to use it better, “it could be a very helpful resource.”
Photo Caption: Students at orientation on Wilf Campus
Photo Credit: Yeshiva University