By Melissa Werthmann, News Staff
In an effort to improve planning and logistics for existing student groups and pave the way for new ones, Northeastern is upgrading its online services for clubs, said Jason Foster, director of campus activities. Foster spoke at Monday’s Student Government Association (SGA) meeting, briefing SGA on last year’s club activity and his office’s plans for the future.
In 2011, Northeastern had 280 organizations, Foster said, which held a combined 900 events. He said he was most taken aback by the 22,000 space reservations made by the university’s faculty, staff and student groups for the 100 activity spaces available. Foster said this illustrates the shortage of space available for students groups and events.
Because of Northeastern’s number of clubs and activities, Foster said he is hoping to expand the department.
“I know it needs a lot of support,” he said. “We’re going to take it a few steps at a time and [we] realize that resources are tight.”
Plans for the future include virtual room scheduling, online requests and auto-bookings, Foster said, all of which will streamline the process of getting a space for meetings or activities. Groups will be able to book rooms immediately online and can also request certain equipment online without having to email an advisor.
Foster said a mobile ticketing system is also on the way through the university app, Northeastern Mobile, which would allow students to purchase tickets to events on their smartphones and show the phone at the door for admission. He said there are also plans for an online policy handbook, which would be available on e-book readers, to help make policies more familiar and accessible to students.
These changes are not dependent on an upcoming vote that might increase the Student Activity Fee (SAF). In an email to The News, Foster wrote, “The online reservation system and the ticketing system are expansions of systems that we currently license. The advancement of these systems will not depend on funding from the SAF.”
Student Body President Mike Sabo asked Foster if he believes there can be too many clubs.
“I do not think there can be too many, as long as they’re not overlapping each other,” Foster said. “[Boston University] has 500 and they show no signs of slowing down, and I don’t think we should either.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the number of space reservations as 2,000 instead of 22,000. It also said the reservations were made only by student groups instead of faculty, staff and student groups.