Temple Student Government is launching several new campaigns this year and maintaining many of its previous programs, with a particular emphasis on community relations, diversity and sexual assault prevention.
Binh Nguyen, junior public relations major and vice president of external affairs, said her job description focuses on community relations. TSG is considering a new project to bring the community and student body together, she added.
“We are thinking about doing a newsletter written by Temple students so students and local residents know what’s going on,” Nguyen said. “People want to get involved but don’t always know how so it’s us saying, ‘Come out with us, get to know us.’”
Nguyen said TSG is collaborating with the Presbyterian Church on Diamond and Broad streets to create a soup kitchen for the holidays. There are also potential plans for a holiday party with the rest of the community, she said.
Brittany Boston, senior broadcast journalism major and vice president of services, said she focused on improving diversity this term. She organized OwlBuddies, a program designed to connect students from the Academy of Adult Learning to undergraduate students from Temple.
“We came together and had a training workshop for student [organizations] that want to work with Academy for Adult Learners,” Boston said. “We matched them up with student organizations, like Black Student Union, Student Government and Gospel Ministries, and then people to go to football games with.”
Boston emphasized the Burrow, at 2026 N. Broad St., as a safe place for people to speak who face diversity issues on campus. She said she and other TSG members often attend the meetings.
TSG is also focusing on preventing sexual assault. The Temple News reported two on-campus sexual assaults Nov. 17. Nguyen and Student Body President Ryan Rinaldi, a senior finance major, have collaborated to form Think About It, a campaign aiming create an atmosphere where sexual assault is unacceptable.
“Think About It is a way of raising awareness and making sure people have bystander intervention training,” Nguyen said. “There is a difference between compliance and commitment.”
Nguyen said in a school of 25,000 undergraduates, it is difficult to control every aspect of campus life. Think About It, an online training program for sophomores, juniors and seniors, is an attempt for TSG to influence whomever they can. Freshmen are exempt from the program because they go through similar training during orientation.
TSG has worked on other preventative measures as well, including OwlWatch, a task force that collaborates with Temple Police. OwlWatch works to make sure students are visible in crossing streets.
“We created a Director of Campus Safety, Brett Ennis, a sophomore, who does great work with Campus Safety,” Rinaldi said. “This group created a task force called OwlWatch where students walk around campus and look at physical fixtures.”
Rinaldi cited alcohol as a major contributor to crime on campus.
“One of the largest factors in sexual misconduct is alcohol,” Rinaldi said. “Dr. Theobald put together a task force in which we sat down and discussed the alcohol issue. Out of this meeting came Define the Line.”
Define the Line is a marketing campaign backed by programming geared toward helping students find their alcohol limits. Rinaldi said it is not about stopping kids from drinking, but helping them figure out when to stop once they start.
Rinaldi said finances are a concern among students. He added Temple prides itself on being an affordable university as well as continuing to try to increase the value of its degrees.
“Marketing itself costs money,” Rinaldi said. “Everyone was so excited about the Super Bowl commercial last year. Millions of people saw. That cost money.”
Rinaldi said building research facilities, creating an attractive campus and fixing utilities are additional expenses.
Rinaldi, Nguyen and Boston noted the open door policy the TSG office employs and added all questions and concerns are welcome.
Lila Gordon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.