The Office of Campus Life (OCL) recently announced the launch of JumboLife, a student engagement platform that is a center for student organization activity, events and study space reservations. The Student Organization Fair was held through the platform last month.
John Wescott, associate director for campus life and programming, explained that the transition to JumboLife was not in response to COVID-19, but was rather the result of ongoing reviews of campus engagement platforms.
“[There was] a full student review of the JumboLife platform in 2018, so this was not a specific response to COVID-19, though the pandemic certainly helped us understand the need for strong virtual management tools rather than our tradition [of] in-person meetings or paper forms,” he wrote in an email to the Daily.
Wescott alsooutlined the ways in which the platform could increase productivity within the OCL.
“With 340+ student organizations with hundreds of events per year, we hoped to be able to better support student organization management through an engaging, easy to navigate platform, such as roster management, training, tools for promotion and recruitment, event registration, and more,” he said.
Organization leaders can also customize their club's event details through JumboLife to accommodate their group's application-based processes as well as host private events.
“It used to be confusing and difficult to piece together all the resources you may need for an event — from the space reservation to the facilities setup, catering, TuftsTickets or adding it to the Student Life and OCL Student Organization calendars. Now, all of that information is collected in this one form,” he said.
Some other benefits to the program include financial management tools. Student organizations no longer have to wait in line at the Tufts Community Union Treasury office hours or Campus Life Financial Office, according to Wescott.
JumboLife was also used to host Undergraduate Orientation.
Rachel Wang, a student chapter director for Strong Women, Strong Girls, said it was challenging to get accustomed to the platform.
"[JumboLife] was a little bit confusing ... it didn't feel like [the OCL] really gave too much of a background about [it]," she said.
Wang also explained that her organization's banner was inadequately shown on the platform. The club later had to receive approval from the OCL in order to fix the issue.
"[A club member] told us that she had to submit it for approval to the OCL ... just little things that [are] taking ... an increased amount of time," she said.
Upon inquiring about this feedback with Wescott, he explained that it is the purpose of JumboLife to replace the old means of student engagement or connection and enhance these processes.
“We don’t anticipate (or want) JumboLife to replace [Facebook] pages or events, but to be an added resource for the organizations to manage their group. JumboLife does so much more than Facebook pages or events could ever,” Wescott said.
Another concern raised by student organization leaders was navigating a lack of community within clubs as a result of hosting events in an online platform.
“My concern for this year is providing meaningful programming and strengthening community while not overwhelming people with more screen time. Because clubs are not accustomed to JumboLife, I’m curious how much the platform will become a central part of club operations,” Haruka Noishiki, founder of Women in International Relations, wrote in an email to the Daily.
Wescott ensured issues would be resolved in due time and has positive hopes for the future of the platform.
“We know that there have been some hiccups with the onboard process, as we’d expect with any new system, including slow loading pages. We’re actively working with the vendor, Presence, that manages the platform and providing all feedback, the good and bad, to ensure it’s the best possible experience for our students,” Wescott said.