When student organizations began this school year, they were introduced to a new student activities initiative aimed at increasing student organization participation by allotting incentives that correspond to a four-star scale grading system.
The new initiative, the Student Training and Rewards System, automatically gives one star to all registered student organizations and tracks the organizations’ progress via the Simplicity database.
To gain stars, organizations must meet specific requirements, such as student-organization database updates, workshop attendance, planned events or programs, collaboration with other organizations and an end-of-year reflection.
With their automatic one-star status, organizations are able to apply for $500 in allocations. To be eligible to apply for the maximum $2,500 in allocations per semester, organizations must meet the two-star requirements.
Program Coordinator in Student Activities Maureen Fisher said STARS was created to “increase opportunities for organizational development” and to help student organizations improve through understanding university policies and collaborating with other student organizations.
“Our goal is that all organizations will work to reach four-star status,” Fisher said. “Once they do, we will continue to provide more opportunities and incentives that will motivate them to be even better.”
Temple Student Government President Natalie Ramos-Castillo said she thinks the program will have a positive impact on student organizations.
“Student organizations will have a more clear understanding of what the university would like to see organizations do to serve the rest of the student body, other than the organizations’ own requirements,” Ramos-Castillo said.
Ramos-Castillo said STARS requires a reasonable amount of dedication from student organizations, especially considering the incentives.
Temple Circle K President Lauren Gess said she thinks the requirements for the initiative are “overwhelming” and may call for too much time commitment from organization leaders.
“It definitely challenges the organizations to be even more involved than before,” Gess said. “Having workshops and meetings almost weekly may be too demanding for most leaders.”
Gess said although the system’s workshops “offer valuable information,” they often take place during inconvenient times for many club leaders and she would rather spend time organizing events for her organization.
“I think [STARS] expects too much,” Gess said. “We have community service projects every night of the week and throughout the weekends, so the STARS program is a lot for us to handle.”
Temple College Democrats President Abigail Shepherd said she is excited about STARS and wants TCD to achieve the four-star status.
Shepherd said STARS will promote awareness of other student organizations and create learning opportunities through its mandatory workshops.
“My first impression was that this new program was really geared toward rewarding student organizations that are most active on campus,” Shepherd said. “TCD has always been an active group on campus.”
Shepherd said that a table at Spring Fling, group promotion and allocations are some incentives that drove her to get involved in STARS.
Muslim Students Association President Heidar Albandar said his biggest incentive to gain more stars is the access to full allocations.
Albandar said although the program has a high level of expectations, the requirements are necessary to differentiate which organizations are justified to fund and which are not.
“I think the program expects a lot,” Albandar said. “But as a student organization representing a serious mandate, we find the high expectations appropriate for the money entrusted to us, as well as the privileges granted.”
Fisher said Student Activities has received a “great response” regarding STARS and that many student organizations are “eager to fulfill the requirements.”
“We do not want to make more work for our busy student organization leaders and members,” Fisher said. “We want to enhance their experience.”
Cary Carr can be reached at email@example.com.
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