The Good and Bad of

IMSA's new Presence platform | Source: Dhruv Patel

In January, the Coordinator of Student Leadership and Service, Emma Wilson, announced that IMSA had officially implemented their long-awaited club management system: In an interview on January 30, Emma Wilson and Chloe Katehis, Coordinator of Student Activities, stated that Presence was created to provide a better alternative to the current form of club communication with the student body. Now, after two months of being implemented, let’s see the good and bad of Presence. 

The Good

One of the concerns that I, and likely many other students, had before its introduction was how the Presence website would actually look. Fortunately, the website user interface (UI) actually functions quite well and looks fairly visually appealing. As I explored the website, I found myself surprised at how simple and easy it was to navigate between things. The different sections of the website including the Coming Up, Featured Organizations, and Connect With Us components are all formatted quite nicely, with clear divides between them. Additionally, it seems that the transition has successfully occurred, as almost all clubs at IMSA are on the platform. 

The Bad

One of the main problems I saw while on Presence was the lack of actual usage by clubs. In the Coming Up section, there were only two events shown. However, even a quick glance at the IMSA Virtual Campus (IVC) on Facebook would tell you that there were far more events than that occurring in the near future.

The other potential issue is few students use, or are even aware of, the platform. After quickly surveying my residence hall wing, it was evident that almost all of them either didn’t know about Presence, or knew about it, but didn’t use it. When asked, sophomore student Ian Chung (‘25) said, “I don’t even know what Presence is.”

Finally, my last concern is that Presence hasn’t really changed how clubs at IMSA communicate with the student body. Even though it was created as a solution to the onslaught of emails and Facebook posts, after its implementation, the old system of emails and Facebook posts have still remained. 

Final Thoughts

Currently, I don’t use Presence in my daily life. However, my exploration of what it has to offer has left me feeling hopeful. I can see Presence one day becoming a staple of the IMSA club experience, but I believe that in its current form, the student body has yet to accept its arrival. If Presence ever wants to truly become the hub for IMSA club activity, it will need to find ways to adapt and reinvent itself to win over support. 

About the Author

Max Chen
Max Chen is a junior at IMSA who lives in 01 D-wing. He is from Champaign and is very excited to serve as a Staff Writer for The Acronym. Outside of writing, he likes to play guitar, tennis, and videogames.

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