SGA gets digital with new campus apps and upcoming elections

Maggie Haddock
Assistant news editor
mhaddock@unca.edu

The Student Government Association jumped into the digital aspect of campus during their meeting on March 22 by discussing the new UNCA Now app and the upcoming election cycle.

“As you may know, last year there was some conversation about looking for a university-wide app to help promote events, promote your student organization and one centralized place for all student events,” said Fred Tugas, associate director of programming for Highsmith Student Union. “Into the fall of last semester, UP and Highsmith have been using it internally just to make sure that it’s all running correctly and now for the spring semester we have launched it for the campus community.”

The app will be used during the summer for things such as orientation and welcoming new students, Tugas said.

“Headed into the summer, we’re excited to get ready for Embark. We are getting ready to talk about it with OLs, with RAs and really help our new students understand that this is a centralized application for knowing everything that’s happening on campus,” Tugas said.

Mike Janofsky, director of happiness at Presence, the software company through which UNCA Now operates, joined the meeting through a conference call to explain the app.

“Presence is branded as UNCA Now on campus, so we’ll use those two terms interchangeably,” Janofsky said. “For anyone outside of a student leadership position or students involved on campus, they’re probably not even going to recognize the name Presence and that’s our goal because we want them to recognize the UNCA Now brand.”

The app allows student organizations to track data such as event participation and other aspects in order to improve the organization, Janofsky said.

“We have a full assessment section which allows you to see real-time analytics and information about who is coming to your events and which type of students you’re reaching, anything and everything you can imagine,” Janofsky said.

An app offered through Presence called Checkpoint will also be available. Checkpoint serves as a management app for student organizations and events, Janofsky said.

“This is how you can check students into an event that you’re hosting with our system,” Janofsky said. “It’s super easy to use. All you have to do is enter a pincode that you’ve created.”

UNCA Now, which students can access as an app and online, serves as a platform for students outside of leadership roles of organizations to view event and organization information, Janofsky said.

“This will show you everything that’s coming up on campus in the next month or so and you’ll get an idea of anything you can go to, as well as any events you’re hosting show up in here,” Janofsky said.

SGA elections will take place this week. In preparation, a candidate forum will happen March 28 at 6:30 p.m. in the Laurel Forum. The event will serve primarily as a meet-and-greet event between students and those who filed to run for a position in SGA, President Charlie White said.

“We’re going to start it with a reception for the senator candidates in more of a meet-and-greet style, especially since folks running for that aren’t necessarily looking for a super cut-throat, ‘Let’s all get up on a debate stage and come at each other,’ event,” White said. “It’s really more about getting to know the students, talking to each other. Then we’ll transition into a question-and-answer session for presidential and vice presidential candidates.”

Elections will be conducted by SGA for two days, at which time students cast their ballots electronically, White said.

“The campaign will run through the duration of next week and voting will be online Thursday and Friday.” White said. “We’re going to be tabling toward the end of the week during the voting period with iPads so the students can vote.”

The app allows students to see upcoming events on campus. Photo courtesy of the UNCA Now app.

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