The Student Training Rewards System Program, also known as the STARS Program, is getting revamped by Student Activities to be more engaging and accessible.
Program Coordinator for Student Organizations Asha Brown has been working with student organizations to make changes to the program, issuing a call for student proposals since she joined the university in August.
Since cutting down the number of required workshops and changing the program’s content, attendance has nearly doubled from last year, Brown said.
WHAT IS STARS
The STARS Program is an encouraged and voluntary incentive-based training program for student organizations who want to be endorsed by the university, according to the Student Activities website.
Once organizations complete a level of training, they are eligible to receive a “stars” rating. The rewards vary per “star” level and are meant to incentivize students to complete the program training. The “stars” rating goes from one to four.
WHAT ARE THE STARS INCENTIVES?
If a student organization earns one star, they are eligible to create an Owl Connect page for their organization, to apply for up to $500 per semester in Temple Student Government funds and can request a meeting space on campus.
The more “stars” an organization receives, the more funding and networking opportunities it can access. Organizations can move up in levels by completing certain workshops. Through the training, organizations can move up from requesting an on-campus meeting space to eligibility for an official space in The Village.
“Through the STARS Program, we provide leadership and organizational development for student organizations,” Brown said. She hopes to make the training more appealing for students in her new role.
The training program focuses on teaching students skills like teamwork and fundraising. Brown took feedback from student surveys in the beginning of the year to help with reconstructing the program.
Brown has been asking students to send proposals for workshops so they can learn about skills they’re interested in or teach programs about skills they already have gained.
“[STARS trainings] basically give you tips and tricks of how your organization should work as you complete it,” said Nichole Humbrecht, a senior engineering fundamentals major and senior director of operations for HootaThon. Humbrecht is the STARS coordinator for the organization.
“I definitely think [Brown is] taking a more hands-on approach,” she added. “She’s really making the attempt to get out there in person. You can target what workshops you think work best for your organization while still going to those fundamental ones that your organization definitely needs.”
“I believe in the wealth of knowledge students have, and I want students to be able to share that,” Brown said. “I want them to be able to talk about the issues that their organization may face because of maybe their cultural or different identity associations. I want them to talk about things that are relevant to them. I want them to teach each other.”
“The changes are really cool because in previous years you had to do a certain amount of workshops to gain stars,” said Faithe Beadle, a junior psychology major, STARS Conflict Education Resource Team peer and a member of TSG. “Asha got rid of a lot of requirements and made it easier to complete the program.”
Beadle and CERT peer and senior social work major Sarah Kim, who is also a member of Alpha Delta Mu, teach workshops about conflict resolution to other student organizations and help them gain “stars.”
Students had to go through the CERT peers to get their stars, and were often unsure how to do so, Kim said. To make the program more understandable and accessible, Brown added a workshop just for executive boards to explain what student organizations need to do to earn these stars.
“I like being transparent with students,” Brown said. “I want them to like what they’re attending, and I think that’s helping me build better relationships with students.”
Brown hopes that by consulting students about their interests that the program will be more effective. She added she is willing to attend student organizations’ events as a regular participant to get a better understanding of their organizations.
“I tell students that if they give me a little bit of work, because it is incentive-based, I’ll give them everything else they need,” Brown said. “I don’t want them to be stressed over getting involved.”