By Matt Anderson ‘21
Coming off of Holy Cross’ dodransbicentennial milestone (that’s classics for 175), many have overlooked that another beloved fixture of the college is experiencing its own anniversary. The student academic records system, or, as it is more affectionately known, “STAR,” has just turned 75! This may seem surprising to some students, who view the sleek design and intuitive UI of the system as being no older than the Reagan-era, but STAR was in fact developed by Alan Turing during World War II as the British attempted to crack the German Enigma code.
Resident student and self-proclaimed adrenaline-junkie Leslie Pierce explained why she loves STAR: “Nothing gives me a rush quite like STAR. Getting to wake up for enrollment at 5:30 in the morning, walking through the arctic wind to get the last computer in the science complex, and praying the whole time that STAR doesn’t crash is such a mood. I’m probably gonna pregame my next enrollment!”
A Holy Cross alum, Rev. Anthony McCarthy, S.J. ‘53, fondly remembers the first time he beheld STAR: “It was an almost religious experience seeing it for the first time in 1949. The way the white and light blue play off each other was so aesthetically pleasing, it’s a timeless color combination that doesn’t look dated at all, even in 2019. I knew immediately after seeing STAR that I wanted to become a priest, to make people feel how I felt then.”
Praise is not unanimous, however. A minority of students have grievances against STAR. One of them, Jackie Leclerc, who only got one out of four classes during enrollment, voiced her opinion: “It’s too old. The fact that it seizes up every enrollment should be evidence of that. I’ve been sending emails to professors all morning to try to get into their classes. Would it be weird to send Prof. D’Klass 100 roses to bribe my way in? What if I offered him a hit of my JUUL?”
In honor of its seventy-fifth, STAR has pledged to put out its first-ever update. It will add pop-up ads and microtransactions during the enrollment period to ensure that the five students who can pay to get all four courses “feel a true sense of achievement.”
Ultimately, however, here’s to STAR, a system that might have been satisfactory when it was first developed, but now is closer evolutionarily to a stone tablet than a computer system.