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TSG aims to build on initiatives from the fall

The first Owl Academy will be held before Cherry and White Day.

Temple Student Government Student Body President David Lopez and his administration have prepared a slew of initiatives for the spring including the start of a Kids-to-College program, the first ever Owl Academy and improvements to the Adopt-a-Block program.

Vice President of External Affairs Ofo Ezeugwu is spearheading the Kids-to-College program, which aims to educate local middle and high school students about Temple.

“When we created our platform last year, one of our biggest plans was to execute our Kids-to-College program,” Ezeugwu said. “We will be putting together diverse collections of our students into panels to speak at recreation centers and high schools with students and let them know Temple is just as viable an option for them as it was for me coming all the way from Maryland.”

Ezeugwu said the Kids-to-College program is just another way for students to reach out to the local community.

“We take up residence in their communities, [we are] their neighbors, and we need to find deeper ways to give back,” Ezeugwu said. “Our biggest influence and impact on these students will be felt by connecting with them on a personal level.”

Last semester, TSG, along with other student organizations, completed more than 1,000 hours of community service through the Adopt-a-Block program initiated by TSG Director of Local and Community Affairs Anthony Torres.

The Adopt-A-Block program assigns specific blocks to student organizations to clean every month.

“Adopt-a-Block has gone very well so far, but there still is room for improvement and we do recognize that,” Lopez said. “[This] semester we are going to tighten things up a little bit and have more of a scheduled time frame for people to go.”

Torres and Lopez will require participating student organizations to clean their respective blocks one time between Thursday and Sunday of the first two weeks of every month. Lopez expects that the program will yield another 1,000 hours of community service in the spring.

Another main focus for TSG this semester is to hold the first Owl Academy in preparation for the annual Cherry and White Day in Harrisburg, Pa., on March 19.

On Cherry and White Day, students and TSG representatives travel to the state capital to talk with elected officials about supporting higher education funding.

This year, Lopez and his administration are going to host the Owl Academy, which will train 10 to 20 current students about all aspects of university funding and budgeting.

“I think this is going to be a really good opportunity for us to get more students engaged and it will be helpful for us to have more students who know a lot about what is going on in the commonwealth,” Lopez said.

Cherry and White Day may be the only opportunity students have to advocate in Harrisburg due to the uncertain future of the Pennsylvania Association of State-Related Students rally.

At the fall conference for PASS, representatives from Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh disagreed with Temple and Lincoln University representatives about the future of the PASS rally in Harrisburg.

Representatives from Temple and Lincoln said the rally in Harrisburg is an important tradition that should continue, while the other representatives did not.

Another PASS conference will be held in early February to further discuss the mission of PASS and the standing of the rally.

Aside from advocating in Harrisburg, TSG is taking an official stance and advocating on Main Campus for students to have access to the information on the course and professor evaluations.

“We believe that students should have access to the information on these forms. The information on the forms should still be anonymous, but it should be a collective average of the professor’s performance,” Lopez said. “[Students] should be able to use it and be able to determine whether or not the quality of their professor is to the standards of which they like.”

Although Lopez and his administration are tackling the Kids-to-College program, improving the Adopt-a-Block program and starting the Owl Academy as a part of the Cherry and White Day in Harrisburg, Lopez’s personal focus is to continue to represent the students.

“My intention for next semester is to really put us at an advantage since we have a new university president, and we will have a new provost. I think it is more important now than ever for me to be there and let them know where we stand, what it is that we need, and what it is we want,” Lopez said.

Laura Detter can be reached at laura.detter@temple.edu.

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