Last updated on Oct 8, 2020
By Christopher Smith, Staff Writer
The Pillars of Excellence program has replaced the five-star requirements for student organizations in light of student feedback.
Associate Director of Greek Life and Student Involvement Jessica Rappaport said that the new program features many changes from the original five-star requirements.
“The pillars are very different,” she said. “Instead of [earning stars], a group can achieve three different pillars, blue, silver and gold. We also no longer use the size of an organization to measure achievement, we only ask that groups have a minimum of ten members.”
The purpose of the Pillars of Excellence program is to support student organizations in achieving institutional standards that cultivate a community of belonging for students. Pillars of Excellence provides structure for baseline expectations and requirements of a recognized student organization and provides opportunities and benefits for aspirational growth. Groups can achieve each of the pillars based on their performance in the three qualifying categories; administrative, attendance, and campus engagement.
There are a multitude of benefits for student organizations able to achieve one of these pillars.
A blue pillar organization meets the expectations of a student organization and is thus privy to all of the rights and benefits of a recognized organization.
A silver pillar organization exceeds the expectations of a recognized organization. On top of the benefits a blue organization would receive, silver pillar members have the ability to request usage of storage space, priority placement for fall and spring involvement fairs, recognition at the spring student leadership awards and additional $250 of allocated funds for the next academic year.
A gold pillar organization exemplifies the expectations of a recognized organization. They receive all of the previously mentioned benefits as well as an organization spotlight on the Promise website, a private end of year event, and $500 total allocated funds.
President of the Fashion Merchandising club Anna Serro believes the Pillars program will benefit clubs.
“I definitely think the Pillars of Excellence are much more manageable than the five star program,” Serro said. “It gives the clubs enough independence to do what they want while still having requirements for the campus.”
Serro also enjoys the collaboration between clubs that the Pillars promote.
“I like how we are encouraged to work with other organizations on campus as well,” she said. “It will be tough this year to achieve a gold pillar status just because we are limited to mostly online events and club meetings and are not allowed to hold off campus events, but in a non-Covid environment I think the pillars will benefit most clubs.”
Administration is using student feedback to continuously improve the Pillars of Excellence and club certification requirements.