Tiger Stripes program requires more of student groups
On Jan. 24, student groups at Towson received their community service assignment for the spring 2014 semester under the new Tiger Stripes program for the first time.
The Tiger Stripes program, adopted by the Student Government Association, is a new incentive-based program that determines how much funding student organizations receive based on their involvement with the community.
Coordinator for Student Organizations Chris Rindosh said that the program was designed to get Towson student groups more involved with the community and to earn benefits based on their commitment.
“We definitely want to reward [student groups] for being more involved on campus,” Rindosh said.
Rindosh said that the main goals of this program were to encourage students groups to know more about campus services, become more reliable, sustain themselves and to establish consistent requirements for every student group.
According to the new system, every group is assigned one of four different packages that range from Package 1 being the lowest to Package 4 being the highest.
All student groups that meet the basic requirements to register are given at least a Package 1.
In order for a student group to qualify for higher-level packages, they must accumulate community service hours, attend workshops, hold open events and fulfill other requirements, such as keeping their Involved@TU page updated.
The higher the package a student group receives, the more financial aid and on-campus benefits they get.
In order to qualify to be an SGA budgeted group, a student organization must reach at least Package 3.
Junior Skyler Jenkins, the president of the Kronum Club at Towson, said the Tiger Stripes program demands more from student groups than the previous system where every group had to fulfill the same amount of community service hours, regardless of size.
“It’s definitely a lot more work; there are a lot more requirements and they seem to be all over the place,” he said.
However, Jenkins said that despite the increase in work the rewards are better for his group in the long run.
“We were aiming for a tier 3 package, but we ended up with a tier 4 package,” he said.
Jenkins said that because his group qualified for Package 4, they will have access to a travel account as part of their SGA budget, which is useful because his group travels often.
“It is a real improvement,” Tyler Sigmon, a lecturer in the Department of Kinesiology and faculty adviser for the Sport Business Association student group said.
Sigmon said the system no longer punishes organizations for failing to meet requirements, but chooses not to reward them instead.
“It’s not like it was before; now groups earn their placement on campus,” he said.
While Sigmon said the program is an improvement, he also said the program will have its “growing pains” as students attempt to adapt to the program.
“There are always going to be hiccups in the first semester as student groups scramble to learn the rules,” he said. According to Rindosh, student groups that are considered inactive (have not reported any activity to the Office of Student Activities) will have until Feb. 3 to contact the office. Student groups that haven’t met the basic requirements for a Package 1 will have one month to meet them. Any student group that fails to meet these deadlines will be rejected.
“They’re actually going to have to turn in the work to be active,” Rindosh said.