MassSTAR Delegates' Frequently Asked Questions
We're so excited to get to know you during the MassSTAR Citizenship Conference, but we know you probably have a lot of questions about what to expect. Below, we've compiled a list of the questions we have received from past delegates. If there's anything that isn't covered on this page, please contact the 2023 Conference Directors, Olivia Lavidor and Brian Dudley, with any additional questions or concerns.
What does MassSTAR stand for?
MassSTAR stands for Massachusetts STudents Accepting Responsibility. To us, becoming active citizens means accepting responsibility for our actions. Each and every one of us has the potential to make a major difference in our schools, our communities, and our state and country. The first step to becoming a leader and an active citizen? Standing up and accepting that responsibility! Once you make that decision, the whole world opens up to you.
Why should I be excited about this event? “Citizenship Conference” sounds sort of boring...
Hey, we get it. Maybe you’ve been to conferences in the past that you didn’t enjoy. We strongly encourage you to push all of that out of your mind, because the MassSTAR Citizenship Conference isn’t like anything else you’ve ever experienced. For one thing, we are completely volunteer-operated. That means that none of our staff is getting paid to be there -- each and every one of us chooses to keep coming back, because for many of us, this is one of the best weekends of our year. Almost 90% of our volunteers are alumni of the Massachusetts Youth Leadership Foundation; we were delegates in the past (some of us quite a few years back!) and we’ve continued to come back as staff. Not convinced yet? Keep reading, and we hope we’ll be able to convince you when we meet you on June 2nd!
I’m not sure I know much about Lasell University. Can you tell me more?
2023 marks the 14th year that Lasell University has hosted the MassSTAR Citizenship Conference. Originally founded in 1851 as a two-year women’s college, Lasell expanded to a full four-year institution in 1989, and went coeducational in 1997. In 2002, Lasell expanded its course offerings to include master’s-level studies in addition to their comprehensive undergraduate offerings. If you’d like to learn more about Lasell, please visit the College’s web site. Please note: while Lasell sponsors the Conference and donates all event and dormitory spaces for the weekend, the curriculum for the Conference is set by the Massachusetts Youth Leadership Foundation and does not represent the views of Lasell College or its administration.
Where will I be staying for the weekend? I’ve heard some nightmares about college dorms...
As mentioned above, Lasell has been growing and expanding in recent years, and that includes extensive renovations to the campus. They generously donate the use of East and West Halls, two recently-constructed facilities, for our dormitories throughout the weekend. These dorms are fully air conditioned. You will share a double room with another delegate, and bathrooms are semi-private, shared between two doubles (4 delegates per bathroom). Please note that dorms are not co-ed. There are separate dorms for men and women, typically delegates will have one roommate, and we have a full volunteer staff on hand at all times to ensure safety and security in the dorms. We deeply value comfort and safety for all delegates; transgender, non-binary, and/or genderqueer students are encouraged to connect with us directly in advance to discuss the housing option that is most comfortable for them. All of our staffers have undergone CORI checks, as per Massachusetts state law, and are trained to handle any situations that may arise. Additionally, a registered nurse stays with us on campus for the duration of the Conference.
How do I get to Lasell College for the Conference?
Delegates are responsible for arranging travel to and from Lasell College for the weekend of the MassSTAR Citizenship Conference. Delegate drop off is between 7:30 and 8:30am on Friday, May 31, and pick up is between 4:00 and 5:00pm on Sunday, June 02.
What do I need to bring with me for the weekend?
Great question! We've put together a delegate checklist to help you to plan for the weekend, and strongly recommend reviewing this list. You’ll definitely need bed linens, pillows, and towels, plus any toiletries that you need for the weekend.
Is there anything I need to do before the Conference?
Fear not - homework isn’t really our style. We recommend that you get plenty of rest in the week leading up to the event so that you’ll be energized and ready to tackle the program! That said, we do need a few logistical items from you before you arrive on campus. Most importantly, please remember to return your registration packet prior to the event. We must receive these forms prior to the conference to make sure we have all of the information we need!
What exactly am I going to be doing for these three days, anyway?
Well, we don’t like to give away too many details; the surprise is part of the fun. You can expect a mix of speakers, panelists, workshops, discussion groups, games, and performances.
All delegates are assigned to groups of 9 to 12 high school sophomores for the duration of the weekend, and you work directly with one Junior and one Senior Facilitator throughout the weekend. Your days are jam-packed with activity; three days isn’t very long to spend together and we want to make sure you get the most out of the weekend! Please come ready to have fun, meet new people, learn more about becoming an active citizen in your communities and in your state!
What is the process for hiring staff for the MassSTAR Citizenship Conference?
The MassSTAR Citizenship Conference is 100% volunteer-operated, with a staff of approximately 45 volunteers to execute the program during the weekend. After submitting an application, which includes providing professional and personal references, all applicants are reviewed by the Conference Planning Committee. All volunteer positions are contingent upon successful completion of a CORI background check; for more information on this process, please see the MYL Foundation CORI policy.
I haven’t received an email with instructions for paying for the weekend. How much does the Conference cost?
You know that old saying, “Nothing in life is free”? Well, turns out there are exceptions to every rule. The MassSTAR Citizenship Conference has always been offered at no cost to delegates or their school, and we’re committed to keeping it that way. Every single staff member who plans and executes this weekend is an unpaid volunteer; we donate our time because we are committed to making the Conference an inclusive event. Every sophomore who wants to participate should be able to join us; money should never be a barrier. Our generous sponsors help to keep this event free to delegates, and we couldn’t do it without them. If you are interested in donating to the Conference, you may do so here. However, this is in no way a requirement for attendance!