Student Activities’ STARS initiative currently ranks more than 200 Main Campus organizations.
In order for a registered student organization to apply to the maximum $2,500 in allocations per semester from the university, it must receive two stars under the Student Training and Reward System.
In the beginning of Fall 2010, all registered organizations were automatically given a one-star status, kicking off STARS.
STARS, intended to motivate organizations with incentives, ranks organizations with a one- to four-star status. With each new level, organizations have access to more benefits. A one-star organization can apply for $500 in allocations per semester.
After a full semester in action, the STARS’ ranking currently has 46 one-star, 152 at two stars and 22 three-star student organizations.
Organizations that do not fall under STARS include new organizations in the process of becoming registered, inactive organizations and fraternities and sororities, which have their own accreditation plan.
Program Coordinator for Student Organizations Maureen Fisher said in an e-mail STARS has been “extremely successful” during its first semester.
Fisher added students are attending and learning from the STARS workshops and are more familiar with Student Activities’ policies, as well as with the staff, due to frequent meetings.
STARS, Fisher said, has also changed the functioning of student organizations. She said leadership transition and a better handle on organization finances, including opening up university accounts and using Temple Student Government allocations, are two improvements that can be linked back to STARS.
“Overall we have been given positive feedback from the organizations,” Fisher said.
The Organization of African Students Vice President Olawonuola Abiona said in an e-mail her organization has been putting in the effort to “meet the demands” of STARS because of its long-term benefits.
OAS’s effort, Abiona said, includes workshops, conferences and collaboration with other student organizations on Main Campus.
The three-star organization, Abiona said, hopes to achieve a four-star status in order to gain larger rooms in the Student Center to hold its meetings.
“[STARS] has made us work harder over the last year,” Abiona said. “It has given us the push we needed to do more.”
Abiona said the only thing she would change about STARS is the “level of communication with the administrators” due to the difficulty OAS has finding out if it is receiving credit for the workshops and programs members attend.
Pooja Mehta, the secretary of the Minority Psychology Student Association and the organization product coordinator of the Psychology Majors Association, said in an e-mail it has been easy to meet STARS requirements because both organizations held regular meetings and events prior to the system’s inception.
While Mehta said MPSA looks forward to becoming a three-star organization, it is not one of PMA’s priorities.
“[PMA] is not as motivated towards [becoming a three-star organization],” Mehta said, “as it already has built popularity amongst psychology students, as well as accessed a proper office and the ability to reserve rooms easily within the psychology building.”
Mehta said MPSA’s main reasons for becoming a three-star organization are recognition, office space, room allocations and funding. Because PMA is “self-sufficient,” she said, these incentives would not be as beneficial.
Fisher said that while organizing STARS can be difficult because of the large amount of student organizations, Student Activities’ student leaders are dedicated to the program and keeping track of the rankings.
By keeping track of frequently asked questions and including a questions-and-answers portion on next year’s STARS brochure, Student Activities, Fisher said, plans on improving the STARS system, as well as the tracking system.
“We know that we can definitely improve upon [STARS],” Fisher said. “But I think it’s a great foundation for student organization leaders to learn and interact with Student Activities.”
“We love working with student organizations and think they are the heart and soul of this campus,” Fisher said.
Cary Carr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.