Student Involvement launches new student engagement platform

Coug Presence replaces CougSync; new website supports Zoom features, connectivity across all WSU campuses



“This new system is very intuitive,” said Brian Shuffield, executive director of Student Involvement. “I think it’s really easy for students to navigate.”


Student Involvement launched the new system-wide platform Coug Presence last week to create a more user-friendly space so students can easily engage with organizations and access events.

WSU decided to switch to the new platform after its contract with Anthology for CougSync ended, said Kathleen Eckert, graduate intern for Student Involvement. Anthology was formerly known as Campus Labs.

Instead of extending its deal with Anthology, WSU signed a contract with Presence, which offered a user-friendly platform at a lower price, she said.

WSU lacked a student engagement platform between the launch of Coug Presence and the end of CougSync. Eckert said this period proved to be Student Involvement’s biggest obstacle in launching the new platform. 

“It was the best thing we could have done rather than roll out an incomplete platform to our students,” Eckert said.

With Coug Presence being the third platform adopted by WSU in the last several years, Student Involvement is committed to making the new platform the best it can be, she said. 

Brian Shuffield, executive director of Student Involvement, said the Coug Presence website looks similar to CougSync but has additional features that CougSync lacked. 

The new site has Zoom integration, which means students can enter events directly from the platform, he said. The website will also track which events students attend. Organizations will be able to track who is attending their events through an analytics feature.

Students will no longer be required to check into events using their CougarCards. Shuffield said there will be more opportunities for students to check into events as Student Involvement continues to roll out other features on the new platform.

Once an organization becomes a Registered Student Organization, a member can fill out a form on Coug Presence to add the organization to the platform, Eckert said. Once completed, the organization’s adviser reviews the form for approval before Eckert’s staff examines it for final review. 

Afterward, Student Involvement adds the organization to the site, and members can fill out forms to schedule events, she said. Student Involvement offers free services to RSOs, including poster making, graphic design, photo, video and more.

When an organization is registered, it is easy for an RSO to create a page on the site, she said. 

Shuffield said one of the most significant changes from CougSync to Coug Presence is the addition of an app that is specific to events. With the new app, students will have access to the platform without having to sign in through an internet browser every time.

“This new system is very intuitive,” he said. “I think it’s really easy for students to navigate.”

Each WSU campus was involved in developing the new platform, Shuffield said. All WSU campuses have their own homepage within the Coug Presence website. 

There are approximately 130 organizations registered on Coug Presence, which is about 150 less than those registered on CougSync. Shuffield said many organizations are still finding out about the new platform. 

Shuffield said he expects there to be around 250 to 300 RSOs on Coug Presence by the end of the semester. 

Dan Welter, associate dean of students and director of WSU’s Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life, helped lead the development and launch of Coug Presence with Shuffield. Although this is a new platform for WSU, Student Involvement simply built off what had been used in the past, Welter said. 

“Don’t mistake a new system for a new process,” he said.