More service required
The Student Government Association is adopting a new plan to incorporate a tier system called the “Tiger Stripes” program which changes the way student groups complete community service hours.
Previously, a third of every student group was required to complete five hours of community service in order to be a budgeted group. Now, groups must choose among four tiers, each with a different set of rewards for completing the requirements.
No community service hours are required for groups to be approved in, but a group must complete 100 hours total to be a budgeted group to have access to activity, equipment and advertising accounts. However, 150 hours must be completed in the top tier to receive transportation funds.
In the second tier, students can complete 50 hours of community service, and will receive extra benefits, but will not be able to apply for a budget with the SGA.
Coordinator for Student Organizations Chris Rindosh said the changes were made in order to keep student groups accountable for completing service hours. In the past, some groups would never complete the hours required to be a student group, according to Rindosh.
“In the past, it was a convoluted way because we had no way to track an official roster of students in a group, or we didn’t know if there were 10 people in a group or 50. Having a flat amount of hours makes it easy to keep track of,” he said.
However, some organizations feel that the flat rates are too difficult for smaller groups to complete. Jennifer Reyda, the president of the Towson University Marching Band and a member of The Feminist Collective and the Queer Student Union, said the requirements are too strict on FemCo, who only has roughly 15 members.
“[The Feminist Collective] is shooting for tier two, but we’re worried that we won’t even be able to get to 50 hours,” she said.
Seth Goldstein, the president of the QSU, said his group usually takes a trip to a conference called “Creating Change” once per year. In the past, the QSU had applied for a travel budget from the SGA to attend the conference, but may not be able to when the new system is put in place next semester, because the QSU may not be able to complete 150 hours of community service in the fourth tier.
If an event is completed as a group, each individual’s hours count toward the total.
For example, a community service event out in the community that 30 members participated in for three hours would count as 90 hours. But Goldstein said it’s very difficult as a student group leader to organize a group that large.
“Running a student group is hard enough as it is, and this makes it a lot harder for groups to receive funding,” he said. “It’s hard to get that many students interested in doing something off campus.”
According to Madeline Georgevich, the president of Towson’s Philosophy Forum, her group may also lose on their travel budget, because the group only consists of 15 members.
“My hope on my budget is to continue to have traveling experience to get more people involved to be exposed to higher academia and having access to these amazing speaker [at conferences],” she said. “If they deny us that, it would be a shame for them and a shame for us.”
Reyda said even in a larger group, figuring out the logistics of an off-campus community service project is difficult.
“You have to find ways to transport everyone there. It would be great if we could get 30 people to table in the Union for three hours, but there’s just not enough interest and some student groups just aren’t big enough” she said.
As the implementation of the “Tiger Stripes” gets closer, Rindosh said the SGA is open to changing the requirements for each tier.
“We picked a number that we thought groups could accomplish,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean we’re not very open to feedback, and we’re not above making adjustments. We sent out a survey about this, and most of the answers we got were concerns over completing the community service hours. We want groups of all sizes to be able to complete these hours.”
Philanthropy also counts toward the community service hours. For every $20 raised and donated to a charity, the group will receive one hour of community service.
But no matter the number of hours completed, Goldstein said he believes the new program drives students away from completing community service hours.
“We want people to be involved in the community, but I don’t think this is the way to go about it,” he said.
Requirements: Register on Involved@TU
Fill out an advisor form
Have your group’s constitution on file
Sign the Event Conference Services handbook
Benefits: Room Reservations
Table at the Involvement Fair
Official listing on Involved@TU
Posting Privileges on Campus
Requirements: Complete all Tier 1 requirements
Complete 50 hours of community service
Upload an up-to-date roster with executive officers on Involved@TU and email your SGA Senator
Benefits: All Tier 1 benefits
Access to one supplemental request from SGA
Swipe card access for up to four members for the Conowingo Lounge
Can request a mailbox in the SGA office
Ability to request free ad space in The Towerlight
Requirements: Complete all Tier 2 requirements
Complete 100 hours of community service
Have at least one officer attend an i.L.E.A.D. workshop
Hold one event on campus open to all students
Complete all SGA funding requirements
Benefits: All of the Tier 2 benefits
Can request a Budget from SGA with access to activity, equipment and advertising accounts
Up to $150 for a banner
$225 for food at your group’s meetings
Access to request funds from the Collaboration Fund
Priority placement of your table at the Involvement Fair
Can apply for locker space in the Conowingo Lounge
Requirements: Complete all Tier 3 requirements
Complete 150 hours of community service
Have at least one general member attend an i.L.E.A.D. workshop
Host one event in collaboration with another student group
Have at least two officers complete their Student Engagement Record on Involved@TU
Complete a transition binder
Benefits: All Tier 3 benefits
Access to travel account as part of the SGA budget
Early registration for rooms for the following year
Additional supplemental from SGA