Rocky Rocking around Social Media

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Courtesy of Kimberly Balacuit
(The Montclarion)

Montclair State tech officials have made steady strides in modernizing the way students communicate and connect with one another on and off campus. As a commuter school, many students get overwhelmed with all of the things to do. Some students feel that they miss out on many activities due to a lack of information and others just feel that the school is too big. As a commuter school, organization and rec leaders are responsible for creating opportunities for people to meet and get to know each other. The means of doing so have changed in the last few semesters. The changes even extend to how efficiently and cohesively students receive different types of information. Montclair State tech officials have made steady strides in modernizing the way students communicate and connect with one another on and off campus. As a commuter school, many students get overwhelmed with all of the things to do. Some students feel that they miss out on many activities due to a lack of information and others just feel that the school is too big. As a commuter school, organization and rec leaders are responsible for creating opportunities for people to meet and get to know each other. The means of doing so have changed in the last few semesters. The changes even extend to how efficiently and cohesively students receive different types of information.

The NEST app is a prime example of Montclair State officials’ attempts to ensure students receive all the information they need in a clear way. The app has some kinks in it, but the point of it is to integrate information into students’ daily lives in the same way other apps such as news apps do for their readers. It puts student schedules, academic schedules and even Canvas on one interface that can be accessed with a touch of a finger. Of course, phones are technically simplified computers, so students with browser apps can still access the website for such information in the event that the app kinks out.

Hawksync is the equivalent of NEST but for recreational purposes. Where NEST provides academic information, Hawksync is the effort by campus organization leaders to bring everyone together on campus and make themselves readily available. It has about the same success as NEST in that it provides information about upcoming events like career fairs, off campus trips and organization fairs. Having event notices and information at one’s fingertip makes the campus smaller and less daunting. The people who come on campus know that there is a space for them somewhere and that there are people who share the same interest and ideas and who are willing to befriend them.

Naturally, these sentiments extend themselves to students off campus as well. Being off campus disconnects students in an “out of sight out of mind” way. Prior to Montclair State officials’ drive to digitalize communication, emails were the main form of getting all information to students off campus. Recreation events and student deadlines were conveyed through impersonal emails, which were not a bad form of communication, however it is an easily forgotten one. As students, we have come to regard our emails with strict judgement. Emails that do not contain important information are disregarded, or merely glanced at. Fewer students are reached this way, but in recent semesters campus organizations have pushed their social media presence hard.

Facebook is a well-known place to find people. At Montclair State, every school, college and staff has a page or profile where they can be reached and contacted in a more personal way than through email. Such communication leaves students very well informed about who they are relying on as well as the opinions of their peers. Conversations started in Facebook comments are legendary. Twitter is an even more efficient way to get campus news. Whether it is weather related or recreational, Montclair State’s twitter is very active. Each organization also has their own twitter.

In terms of integrations, officials and campus leaders have done and are still doing a great job keeping students knowledgeable about all things Montclair and giving them a means to connect and meet up with people interested in the same things. Organizations who push for social presence are gaining more success in getting new members and retaining them. Montclair State continues to grow from a large sprawling campus to a large sprawling home away from home.

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