Not all the new initiatives intended for Temple student organizations are a major thumbs-down.
The Office of Student Activities has developed a new motivational program to provide opportunities and new techniques for student organizations through the Student Training and Rewards System, or STARS.
The program was introduced at a mandatory meeting between Student Activities and registered student organizations at the beginning of the semester, but student members who did not attend could be struggling to understand its positive impact.
“The more active an organization becomes on campus, the more incentives they receive,” said Queer Student Union Vice President Connor Hesketh, a senior education major. “Organizations who host the most events, collaborate with other orgs and attend important workshops will have advantages over organizations who just want to exist on campus.”
Temple Advertising Club President Melissa Markowitz, a senior advertising major, said STARS makes her “excited to be participating in events that benefit my organization.”
She added that for the first time, student organizations are allowed to receive incentives for the work they do on Main Campus and in the community.
STARS sets encouraging and reasonable requirements for the more than 200 on-campus student organizations to benefit from potential incentives.
Registered student organization can each receive four stars. Every organization begins with one star, which requires the basic necessities to maintain a student organization, such as updating contact information and meeting regularly. With these requirements, incentives include eligibility for $500 in allocations and meeting space on campus, as well as a listing on the Student Activities website.
To get two, three or four stars, organizations must achieve more requirements, such as planning at least one event per year, collaborating with another organization to host a program and attending workshops on team-building, budgeting, goal-setting, inclusivity or leadership. Every requirement can positively benefit the organizations. Some incentives for the two-, three- and four-star organizations include eligibility to apply for as much as $2,500 in allocations, office space in the Village on the third floor of the Student Center and the organization’s choice of table location at Spring Fling.
These incentives are exciting for students like Hesketh and Markowitz since they motivate organization leaders to engage their members and are important for organizations to thrive.
Markowitz said TAC is currently a two-star organization and is working toward receiving a third star by the end of the month. Hesketh said QSU is currently a two-star organization and will be a three-star organization after attending one more workshop regarding inclusive statements.
The star titles distinguish training and rewards each organization has achieved. Student Activities Program Coordinator Maureen Fisher said it is not a ranking system.
“It’s not necessarily that we want to make some organizations look lower or higher on a scale, but we want to give opportunities for development,” Fisher said.
STARS provides organizations a clean slate and works in their benefit to achieve substantial goals.
“Anything that helps the students and the clubs succeed is a positive,” TAC Agency Director Ben Dailey, a senior advertising major, said.
Fisher said organizations would not be penalized for not setting goals higher than one star.
“It’s not about the negative repercussions of things,” Fisher said. “It’s more about being a stronger organization and giving organizations that are already strong – because we have so many of them – the ability to become even stronger.”
With STARS, already-active student organizations can flourish even more, and not-so-active student organizations can finally have the motivation to grow and succeed, creating a win-win situation for every student involved.
Lauren Hertzler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.