Introducing YUConnect, a hub for activities outside the classroom

YUConnect is York University’s new online system for students seeking to get involved with and track their out-of-the-classroom experiences.

YUConnect provides students with the ability to find and sign up for campus resources and involvement opportunities that match their interests. Some 350 recognized student clubs and leadership skills development opportunities are listed on the directory. Students can also use YUConnect to document their involvement and learning outside of the classroom to create a co-curricular record.

Developed over the past year by a pan-University group led by Student Community & Leadership Development (SCLD), York University was the first Canadian university to partner with CollegiateLink, provider of the platform. The partnership has resulted in an all-in-one solution that meets the diverse needs of York students.

“We’re excited to be the first university in Canada to implement this platform, which brings together student organizations, events and membership to populate the student’s co-curricular record,” says Ross McMillan, assistant director for SCLD and the project’s lead.

Since soft-launching this spring, more than 100 student clubs and leadership events have signed up some 1,500 participants.

The skills and knowledge gained through out-of-classroom experiences can go a long way to enhance a student’s future, says McMillan. “We are working closely with the Career Centre to help students use the co-curricular record as raw material for their resume, cover letter, grad school application package or interview preparation. In conjunction with YUConnect, the Career Centre is offering workshops such as ‘Identifying Skills and Accomplishments’ to help students identify the skills they developed through participation in an activity.”

New students coming to York University for orientation and advising are being introduced to YUConnect through the RED Zone, a summer transition program for new students led by senior student ambassadors.

YU Connect Web page
Above: The YUConnect website offers a simple and easy-to-use platform

“In the RED Zone, signing up to YUConnect is as important as getting your YU Card; it’s basically an all-access pass to our clubs and organizations on campus so we want everyone to get familiar with it,” says Claire Simpson, RED Zone coordinator. “Students like how easy it is to get connected to everything and the RED Zone ambassadors like posting advice and stories on the [YUConnect] page wall. YUConnect has all the useful functions of Facebook, but has allowed us to create a more secure online community specifically for York students.”

Student leaders are also see the benefits associated with YUConnect. “As a college council president, YUConnect provides the council with a new tool to not only promote academic and social programs but track our community’s involvement within our clubs and organization,” says Andrew Brown, president of Vanier College Council.

YUConnect also provides a convenient way for clubs and organizations to promote their activities to students.

“YUConnect gives each college council what is in essence their very own listserve that can be used to inform students of upcoming events, elections and job opportunities,” says Brown. “By having a directory of all the clubs and organizations in one central location, it allows a greater opportunity for students to get involved within the York community by being recommended, based on their interest, the student clubs and organizations they may not have known existed. It also shows down all the available options for students looking to get involved.”

The online system also provides clubs and organizations with an easy way to store minutes and photographs from meetings and events in a secure format. Students can also download applications, waiver forms and order forms directly from the YUConnect website. “YUConnect provides a way to get feedback through polls and also allows students to relive memories through its photo gallery. We can keep in touch with our constituents through our wall on our YUConnect page,” says Brown.

For more information, visit the YUConnect website, or drop by the RED Zone and speak with a RED Zone ambassador. The RED Zone, which is located in the Vari Hall Rotunda on York’s Keele campus, is open from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.