November 9, 2017

Student Government’s Tech and Finance Committee introduced a new, more universal communication platform to Wheaton club leaders last Thursday, Nov. 2. Slack is a cloud-based domain, accessible online or via a free app. Created for small workplace teams, Slack is used by 50,000 different companies and provides both public and private channels through which users can receive information and announcements. EVP of Tech and Finance Ben Love hopes that it will become “the next student hub.”

“We’re trying to take what the Wheaton app did not do well and do it better,” Love explained to the club leaders.

The goal of Slack is to unify campus communication. Saga menus, chapel schedules and campus announcements will be available in one place, posted on one of Slack’s public channels. Members of the Tech and Finance committee operate as administrators for the public channels; individual campus organizations can create and invite members to their own private channels within the domain.

Love told the Record that the committee has been working on the idea for a month and a half. Lacking the “funding and manpower” for an independent app which would solve all the problems of the original Wheaton app, committee members chose instead to use an existing software from which to build a more universal communication platform for Wheaton. Slack was launched in 2014 and bills itself as the “fastest growing business application in history,” with over nine million weekly users. According to Love, Slack use among colleges is somewhat uncommon. While it is designed for and used primarily by small businesses, Love believes that this model will work well for a small school like Wheaton.

Slack is focused on providing students with information that is both “accessible and relevant,” Love said during the presentation. One key component of this is its searchability. Committee members pointed out during Thursday’s meeting that most Wheaton students suffer from a severe “fear of missing out.” After the fall Club Fair, there is no clear way to search for campus groups which cater to a student’s particular interest, nor is there a single coherent method for getting in touch with these clubs. Slack, said Love, would encourage students to get more involved by making them more aware of the opportunities available to them.

The Tech and Finance Committee envisions “organic” and “strategic” growth for Slack. In other words, they’re not trying to roll it out all at once. While Love hopes that the platform will be used widely among students by the end of the 2017-18 school year, the committee is relying primarily on club leaders to start Slack use among their members. The site can be accessed at wheatonstudents.slack.com.