tl;dr Campusvine will be shutting down on September 1st, 2021
We built Campusvine to make the lives of student leaders easier. When we were students, the entire voucher process was on paper. You filled everything out by pen, stapled your supporting documentation, and submitted it to the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) office during business hours. Then you waited a couple of days and showed up hoping your check was ready, often to find out it wasn’t. It was incredibly frustrating, and we wanted to fix this experience by giving students the option to submit and check the status of their vouchers online from places and times convenient to them.
I know this all seems pretty obvious now, but when we were involved in student government back in 2009, no existing products did what we needed. We hacked together a prototype over winter break that we called Allocate and pitched it to Stony Brook administrators a couple of weeks later. Processing club vouchers is one of USG’s most essential functions, and I honestly never expected they would trust students to build and maintain software to move vouchers online. I am forever grateful that they did. The experience I gained building and launching Campusvine is immeasurable and still guides how I build software to this day.
We tried to build Campusvine into a successful business, but we ultimately failed in doing so. Campusvine eventually transitioned into a side-project where we squeezed in work on available nights and weekends. Our goal was to keep Campusvine running for as long as we were still providing value to the Stony Brook community. But 11 years is a long time for a software project, and Campusvine is showing its age. New features are harder to implement because of decisions we made early in Campusvine’s life. Our time has been in increasingly short supply as our lives and careers have changed. It is understandably frustrating that software you use and rely on every day sees a slower rate of improvement. I understand this was a determining factor in USG’s decision to transition its financial process to SB Engaged for the 2021 - 2022 academic year. As a result, we will be shutting down Campusvine on September 1st, 2021.
Building Campusvine wasn’t always easy; there were setbacks along the way. Many people in life will tell you ‘no.’ It is essential to separate the legitimate criticism from the people who resist change. Use legitimate criticism to sharpen your ideas and make them better. But don’t give up on trying to convince those who oppose change either; you never know who you can eventually win over. The critical point is not to let them discourage you. Stony Brook is a much better campus today because of student leaders’ hard work and time. Campus traditions and other staples of Stony Brook University we now take for granted were once just an idea. Your contribution to this campus is our shared legacy, one that will benefit many generations of students to come. I can’t wait to see what you and future students have in store.
As I close the door on this chapter, I just wanted to thank a couple of administrators who were instrumental in helping us build Campusvine: Dr. Peter Baigent, Dr. Jerrold Stein, Dr. Susan DiMonda, Eunice Ro, Kevin Kelly, Denise Eylers, and Gina Windisch. We could not have shipped Campusvine without their support. They provided constant encouragement, counsel, and a willingness to vouch for us when others wouldn’t. We may not have always agreed, but they always made our ideas better. They were partners in the truest sense of the word and understood the importance of empowering student leaders to pursue their own ideas.
Stay well. Stay safe. Get Vaccinated.
(Feel free to send good vibes to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alexander E. Dimitriyadi