Union College embraces new internal social media

Stefani Leeper

Union College has launched a new internal social media network known as SquirrelHUB. This is structured not only to categorize and make gx emails easier to manage, but will provide streamlined communication, calendars, updates on clubs, courses and other campus happenings.

As with any new addition to the social media family, SquirrelHUB is not without its own unique quirks. For example, a simple click on the SquirrelHUB icon on the student portal will direct the unsuspecting student to OrgSync. What’s OrgSync, and where did SquirrelHUB go?, a new user is likely to ask.  

In an email to faculty and staff, Director of Digital Communication Scott Cushman defined the various aspects and terminology of the new network.

  • OrgSync is the software and service provider.
  • SquirrelHUB is a branded, “Union-ized” version of OrgSync. Communications senior AJ Valcin is credited with the naming of the brand. Marketing Communication’s graphic designer Devi Halim created the SquirrelHUB icon.
  • HUBs act as individual categories, such as for the Division of Religion or the Associated Student Body. “Each has its own news, events, calendar, membership, file repository, forms, polls, forums, etc. Members can decide how they want to receive updates on a per-HUB basis,” writes Cushman. Many of these will fall under Academic HUBs.

It should be noted that SquirrelHUB is not a replacement for Moodle or the Union College website and is not intended for external audiences, cautions Cushman.

With the ease of accessibility and other conveniences of Facebook, students may wonder what SquirrelHUB truly has to offer as an internal social media network.

Associate dean of students Kim Canine, who aided in the structuring and launching of the network, has been working with the system for five years and was part of OrgSync’s implementation at La Sierra. “SquirrelHUB has been in the making for four years,” she shared, and it was made possible during the summer of 2015 with the collaborative efforts of Marketing Communications, Information Systems, Student Services and countless others.

Canine also shared that Marketing Communications is currently in the process of developing and refining the Screaming Squirrel, an email that will be released once a week. The goal of the Screaming Squirrel is to streamline communication by sending a weekly email of campus news so as not to flood inboxes. Everyone who is a part of the campus-wide HUB will be recipients of the Screaming Squirrel. Emails will continue to be delivered until faculty, staff and students have had an opportunity to adjust to the evolving social network.

OrgSync currently serves over 300 campuses, and, said Canine, only three Adventist campuses: Andrews University, La Sierra and Union College.  

SquirrelHUB can be found at ucollege.edu/hub or by logging into the student portal.   

Stefani is a junior studying communication.