New software makes campus involvement easy

This year, the University of Rhode Island’s Student Involvement introduced the online platform, URInvolved, to enhance student activities and event coordination.

Maureen McDermott, the assistant director of student involvement at URI, said the software streamlines student engagement through providing a place for organizations to post and plan events and activities.

Students can use URInvolved to find information about club meetings and event times. Students who run clubs and events can plan and coordinate through the software too, according to McDermott.

Lucas DeWitt, coordinator of organization advising & systems management, works a full-time position where he manages the general use of URInvolved at the University.

“I think Lucas is just touching the surface of it at the moment,” McDermott said. “As he gets further into it, it’s going to be even more amazing.”

URInvolved has been active and available to students for about two months, according to DeWitt. The technology company, Anthology, owns the software.

Other aspects of Anthology programs have been utilized at URI in the past few years, including online elections for Student Senate via the software, according to McDermott.

DeWitt noticed students struggling to get involved during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Losing two years of pivotal relationship-building and meeting new people was very difficult,” DeWitt said.

Centralizing events on the software makes in-person participation more accessible. The current goal for URInvolved is to get all clubs and organizations to use it, according to DeWitt and McDermott.

“Having the help of student organizations, to be able to add their member rosters, has been very beneficial for us,” DeWitt said.

Student organization leaders can create their own profiles for each club, according to DeWitt. They can manage members or rosters, and can plan events through the software’s online events submission process.

Unlike social media, students can’t post their own events without being a part of an organization. However, they can access information on how to join any club.

DeWitt said this creates an easier transition for new executive boards that are elected every year for all student clubs. Information and documents can be stored via URInvolved to ensure organization.

Individual students’ participation in events are recorded through the software, compiled into a co-curricular transcript, according to DeWitt. This helps students keep track of extra-curriculars through their experience at URI.

There is also a QR code that comes with every students’ URInvolved account, which can be logged into via the URI single-sign-on, according to DeWitt. Students use the QR code upon entrance, therefore recording who shows up to what events or activities.

“Data and assessment lie at the core and foundation of what we [student involvement] do and how we approach our work,” said DeWitt.

Recording data of event attendance can help grow student involvement amongst every entity that utilizes URInvolved, according to DeWitt. Detailed information of events can help coordination if an organization repeats an event from the previous year.

“There was this laundry list of student organizations on our [student involvement] website, but it wasn’t engaging, interactive or fully up-to-date,” DeWitt said. “Now, organizations are able to update information and pass it on.”

According to McDermott, student organizations undergo a multi-step process to find information on how to plan events.

“All that information now is available on the URInvolved page,” McDermott said. “That’s where they’re going to work through the steps to make their event happen.”

DeWitt and McDermott hope to expand the software’s use to other entities on campus, like Greek Life and campus recreation. Ideally, students should be able to access any and all student involvement by using URInvolved.

Students are encouraged to explore the URInvolved platform accessed through the URI Involved website using the single sign-on.