Diamond Nation, one of the tickets campaigning for for Temple Student Government executive office, looks to create a Be Our Guest program, continue Adopt-a-Block and improve non-traditional and transfer student experiences as it campaigns on a platform based on three pillars: community, opportunity and diversity.
Diamond Nation’s ticket is comprised of candidate for student body president Anthony Torres, candidate for vice president of services Patricia Boateng and candidate for vice president of external affairs Danube Johnson.
Torres is a junior human resources management major and currently serves as the TSG director of local and community affairs and works for the Campus Safety Services.
Torres said he will focus on the opportunity pillar – specifically non-traditional and transfer students – due to his experience transferring from Burlington County College after his freshman year.
According to its platform, Diamond Nation plans to be present at each transfer orientation to “provide better opportunities for transfer students and commuters to become more involved in the Temple University community.”
The community pillar of the platform focuses on connecting university students with the North Philadelphia neighborhood through the Be Our Guest program and the continuation of Adopt-a-Block.
“The way I see it there are two different North Philadelphias,” Johnson said. “There is Temple and there are the local residents. I am trying to combine the two and make it one, and that is my vision.”
Johnson, a philosophy and religion double major, was the TSG liaison for the Queer Student Union last year and is currently training as a peer mentor in the Russell Conwell Center.
The Be Our Guest program aims to generate 1,000 hours of community service by encouraging student organizations to volunteer at charitable organizations and soup kitchens around the North Philadelphia community.
“This has been a problem Temple has had for a long time, cultivating relationships with the community and that is something we are really trying to do,” Johnson said.
Diamond Nation plans to continue and expand the Adopt-a-Block program started by Torres this year. According to the platform, Diamond Nation wants to increase student organization participants in TSG from 22 to 50 organizations by the end of Fall 2013 semester and reach 2,500 community service hours next year.
Boateng looks to celebrate the university’s diversity and encourage student organizations to communicate and collaborate better.
“We always talk about being diverse, but we never really talk about doing anything with the diversity we have,” Johnson said. “We just kind of compare people instead of celebrating contrast, which is something we are trying to institute.”
Boateng, a junior psychology major, is currently TSG director of academic affairs, secretary of the Organization of African Students and a resident assistant in 1300 residence hall.
Initiatives to encourage collaboration amongst student organizations and collaboration of TSG directors with student organizations are the ways Diamond Nation plans to promote diversity.
Specifically, Diamond Nation plans to reach out to students in Tyler School of Art and Boyer College of Music and Dance.
“We highlighted those two schools because we felt like those two were schools that really just focus on their own projects instead of collaborating with other student organizations,” Torres said. “Obviously, we cannot force anyone, but we can promote diversity and that is what we are trying to do.”
Boateng also has plans to advocate for the extension of student services, including Tuttleman Counseling Service and Student Health Services, until 7 p.m. on weekdays and additional hours on weekends.
“As college students, we go beyond the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and with Morgan Hall coming we have such an on-campus population of students living in residence halls. Having those services available to them can just really, really add to student life,” Boateng said.
That change would require action by top levels of the university.
Diamond Nation plans to make changes within TSG that include the addition of a co-chair and secretary positions on each committee and the selection of more committed directors.
“When we are building up the committee we want our committee members to feel obligated to the committee and obligated to TSG and feel like they are making a difference,” Torres said.
Torres, Boateng and Johnson plan to hold extensive director interviews for potential candidates to avoid selecting directors who are not fully committed, as Boateng and Torres have both seen in the past.
“Other directors were in Temple Student Government just to be in Temple Student Government, and they didn’t really establish anything,” Torres said.
Although Diamond Nation set a goal to win the election, it also has a goal to promote student voting in the TSG election.
“We want this to be a record-breaking year in terms of students voting,” Torres said. “As students, I really want everyone to do their homework on both platforms, really come out to the debates, really meet us on a personal level, invite us to their student organizations and I want them to choose.”
Laura Detter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.