For many college students, email is a relic from the ancient past and has gone the way of dinosaurs, the typewriter and landline telephones. Now in an effort to more effectively communicate with students, Union College has built a new social media network on campus to create an electronic community as vibrant and diverse as Union’s real-life campus.
To tackle the daunting task, Union turned to Kim Canine, who joined the campus team last summer to fill a new position on campus—associate dean of students. In the new position Canine has not only assumed responsibility for the new electronic community—dubbed Squirrel HUB as a salute to the bushy-tailed campus dwellers—but will also assist the dean of students with a variety of other tasks including managing Union’s orientation week for new students, coordinating campus clubs and developing a new drug and alcohol education program.
“I like to meet new people and I like to create things,” said Canine, who most recently worked as the director of student involvement at La Sierra University in southern California. “So the fact that this is a new position and I get to help create it is really exciting. So far everything I’ve seen and the people I’ve met have been amazing.”
Canine earned both an undergraduate degree and an MBA at La Sierra before taking a job in their student services office. She also worked as an assistant dean at her alma mater and as a marketer at Thunderbird Academy in Arizona and Campion Academy in Colorado before returning to La Sierra to a job that required her to manage the school’s implementation of OrgSync, the same software Union is using to create Squirrel HUB.
In the process, Canine became an experienced user and developed a connection with creators, who wrote the cloud-based tool specifically for college campuses.
“Using OrgSync makes it so much easier for campus clubs and organizations to communicate with their members, manage events and promote themselves across campus,” said Canine. “Students spend a lot of time in the digital world and are used to consuming information the way they want to. OrgSync makes that possible for our campus. Students are far more likely to stay tuned to what is happening when they can organize everything in an easy-to-use interface and don’t have to sort through dozens of emails a day.”
The Squirrel HUB also provides a mobile app for access on-the-go, a universal calendar for the campus, the ability to manage online registration for many internal and external events and much more.
Canine, who grew up in southern Illinois, was not a stranger to Union. As both a student and employee at La Sierra, she attended Adventist Intercollegiate Association meetings at Union as part of student government. She is also married to 1996 Union College graduate Chris Canine, who served as dean of men at La Sierra before coming to Lincoln. The couple has two children, Zeldon, nine and Adisyn, six.
“We are excited Kim Canine has joined our student services team,” said Linda Becker, vice president for Student Services and dean of students. “Her work with Squirrel HUB has already made an impact by creating more effective communication on our campus.”
“I’ve worked with OrgSync at more than one school,” said Canine. “Union has embraced it much more quickly than I expected. People here can see the possibilities of how it can help our campus and we haven’t even officially launched it yet. We have been able to accomplish a lot in a very short time.”
While many students and employees have been using Squirrel HUB since August, Union is officially launching the service campus-wide in January.
By Megan Wehling, student writer