By Sydney Shaw
Starting this semester, it’s one-stop shopping at the College for campus calendars, engagement opportunities, community service logging and more.
Lion’s Gate — a new online resource — is “the hub of information for student organizations, academic and campus departments,” Vice President for Student Affairs Amy Hecht wrote on Friday, Aug. 21, in a campus-wide email about the site.
“When I first arrived in January as the assistant vice president for Student Affairs, many students and colleagues told me it’s difficult for students to know all the ways to engage in campus life outside the classroom,” Elizabeth Bapalosa said. “There are many opportunities to be engaged, such as joining and taking on a leadership role in a student organization and attending events and workshops.”
Given that so many students at the College use technology to communicate with each other, the Division of Student Affairs and the Student Finance Board purchased the CollegiateLink system (re-named Lion’s Gate), according to Bapalosa.
“Just communicating events happening on campus and student organizations that students can join is just the tip of the iceberg of what Lion’s Gate can do for our community,” she said.
Lion’s Gate includes a free mobile app with the capability to track attendance at events by using a swipe card reader. It also allows students to track their engagement experiences by building an engagement transcript that can be easily downloaded as a PDF to share for potential internships, future employers and graduate school admission offices.
Besides tracking events and student engagement, community service hours can be logged and electronically verified using Lion’s Gate.
Organizations can also run organizational and campuswide elections using the system. According to Bapalosa, Student Government will use Lion’s Gate to run their campus-wide elections from now on.
“We anticipate that by Spring 2016, all SAF-funded organizations will have all their SAF funds viewable on their Lion’s Gate organization’s profile,” Bapalosa said. “This was one of the reasons why the Student Finance Board is helping pay for the system each year.”
Launching Lion’s Gate has been in the works for well over a year. According to Bapalosa and Hecht, a campus-wide committee researched a number of different systems and determined that CollegiateLink was the best system available in the Fall 2014 semester. The College then held a campus-wide naming contest in April, which is how the name “Lion’s Gate” was selected.
This summer, student organizations registered by building an organizational account on Lion’s Gate in order to stay recognized by the Office of Student Activities, Bapalosa said.
“As of August 30, 2015, there are 1,414 TCNJ students, faculty and staff using the system,” Bapalosa said. “Over 270 organizational accounts are on Lion’s Gate, with over 175 events posted by them.”
According to Hecht, training is available for those interested in learning how to post events on Lion’s Gate, build an organizational account, track event attendance and use other tools available through the software. The first training session is on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 1 p.m. in Business Building 225. The Office of Engagement staff can provide one-on-one trainings by request.