By Grace Hogsten
Elm Staff Writer
Now that Washington College is about a month into the first semester of the new academic year, students have adjusted to their class schedules and are engaging in community activities with their peers, often in one of the College’s 80+ student-run clubs.
Unfortunately, over the past few weeks, many club officers experienced issues while using WC’s designated campus community platform, CampusGroups. CampusGroups enables students to schedule meetings, reserve meeting locations, and find information from other clubs.
However, CampusGroups is not functioning properly for many WC students. These issues especially affect new clubs without set schedules.
One such club, EROS (Encouraging Respect of Sexualities), which did not meet last year, held its first interest meeting at the end of September.
“I wanted to host an EROS interest meeting a few weeks back, but CampusGroups kept crashing. By the time I had learned how to request the meeting, it [was] too late for it to be processed,” President of EROS sophomore Morgan Carlson said.
WC clubs must use CampusGroups to schedule meetings or events, so if the platform is not working properly, the club cannot schedule anything.
Because CampusGroups can be glitchy, many clubs avoid entering their events into its central calendar. During the first month of the semester, multiple clubs scheduled meetings at the exact same time or held very similar events during the same week.
“It is harder to plan events without stepping on the toes of other student groups, or getting other groups’ events scheduled on top of ours. The only way for us to know when things are is email, which we don’t always get sent or see and isn’t centralized,” Vice President of EROS sophomore Ryan Morrow said.
However, some problems with CampusGroups are not because of the platform, but because of the Wi-Fi connection on campus.
“There are definitely issues with the app itself. It can be pretty buggy and doesn’t work at all on the guest Wi-Fi, which in recent days has often been the only available network. It also doesn’t work on cellular data,” Morrow said.
WC’s abysmal Wi-Fi is not a new or unfamiliar problem. Students alerted the college of the issues with its Wi-Fi many times in the past few years alone.
Students need the space and the companionship that WC’s clubs provide. In these clubs, students make friends, share common interests, build skills that will be important in their future careers, and find communities to help them during difficult times or when facing marginalization.
Too often, WC ignores these larger issues or provides small solutions that look good on the surface but don’t address the root of the issue. The school must invest in better resources and infrastructure for student connection. Campus clubs need a practical, quick, and centralized way to publicize their events – and a stable internet connection on which to do it – so that students can connect.
Photo courtesy of Riley Dauber
Photo Caption: WC uses the platform Campus Groups to plan and advertise club events, but the frequent crashing and technology issues make it difficult for clubs like EROS (Encouraging Respect of Sexualities) to organize meetings.