As of January 15, the AMS’s club and student group management platform Clubhouse is permanently out of service.
According to AMS VP Administration Cole Evans, CampusVibe, the company that runs Clubhouse, has found it to be no longer financially viable to continue operating their business. CampusVibe has submitted a termination notice to the AMS, which effectively nulls their renewed two-year contract that was announced last January.
Evans says that the AMS is already looking for a new platform.
“First priority is to make sure that we’re choosing a system that not only supports our various clubs and constituencies and other groups on campus, but also [benefits] students as a whole at UBC,” he said.
Now that the website is down, club organizers will have to make do without a central online platform. Evans says the AMS is working to find a replacement quickly.
“We’re hoping to get something started or find a system and get everybody ready to transition by next month,” he said. “However, we want to make sure that we do this right.”
In the meantime, most forms and materials that were on Clubhouse have been transferred to the AMS website.
Bringing down the house
Evans acknowledged that there have been many issues raised by student groups about Clubhouse.
“From my perspective, a lot of clubs felt that they were more forced to use Clubhouse as opposed to seeing it as a benefit,” said Evans.
“That’s the biggest issue we’re trying to solve — how do we create a system that doesn’t feel like a burden to clubs and is actually something that they’re going to actually get use out of and they’re going to actually feel like it helps their clubs’ operations?”
President Sakiko Toriya of UBC BizTech, a business and technology networking organization, had difficulties finding leadership forms on Clubhouse that could only be found after clicking through multiple pages. She also had a poor experience with room bookings.
“We had a horrible issue with room bookings for our biggest event [in November] because the system didn’t recognize our booking submission even though we submitted it in early May.”
Toriya hopes that the new platform will have email confirmation and updates after submitting booking requests.
Manish Toofany has had both positive and frustrating experiences with Clubhouse in his role as president of UBC HOPE, a student-run charity that works locally in Vancouver. He found filling out administrative forms to be straightforward but was frustrated with updating membership lists.
“The platform required members to fill out waivers by logging on to their own accounts, which acted as an unnecessary barrier. This led to the membership list on Clubhouse being inaccurate relative to the actual list of club members.”
He hopes that the new platform will streamline the club member enrolment and room booking process.
UBC Game Development President Angela Lu thinks that Clubhouse had little to no information on the club succession process. Lu would like the new platform to have more information about club elections, event support and other procedures.
“Most things I learned through trial and error or I talked directly with people at the AMS. I still feel like I haven’t gotten the full picture and am currently stressed about upcoming elections,” said Lu.
“Although it looks pretty, it’s not serving its function in my opinion.”
Until the AMS finds and sets up a new platform, Evans says that the AMS will transition all the forms on Clubhouse to the AMS website and that other services will be dealt with on an ad hoc basis.
“I think that this gives us a great opportunity to find a system that really works and that we can transition everyone effectively and that people are really going to enjoy using,” he said.