After a rare round of meeting cancellations, the Board of Trustees held its first committee meeting this fall when the student affairs committee met to discuss the need for more donations from students and alumni last Tuesday, Sept. 17.
The trustees on the committee discussed plans to increase donations and talked with members of Temple Student Government about new services available to students this year.
“The endowment number is not doing well,” Trustee Solomon Luo said. “The Alumni Association and the Student Body Association can increase this number.”
Luo said the alumni giving rate is currently 11 percent but it could be higher. Of the $39 million Temple received in donations last year, only $8.5 million came from alumni, according to a report by the Office of Institutional Advancement.
“By getting pride flowing, it will turn into student giving and alumni giving,” Luo said.
Last year, Temple spent $5 million on advertising, including the “Temple Made” campaign, focused on instilling pride and encouraging alumni to donate to the university.
As funding from the state remained stagnant this year and could decrease next year, the pressure is mounting on the Board of Trustees to stop tuition increases and to curb rising student debt.
Bob Rovner, chairman of the student affairs committee, said the trustees work hard to get more funding from the state.
“I learned a lot about politics from my time as student body president at Temple and as a state senator,” Rovner said. “I’m using that today to get the [Pennsylvania] House and Senate to give money to the university.”
Other state institutions are also feeling the threat of fewer state dollars next year. Last week Penn State announced it will request a funding increase of 5.1 percent from the state. Temple’s trustees have chosen to take a different route to get much-needed revenue.
Earlier this month, Lew Gould, chairman of the budget and finance committee, said donations and research revenue were the biggest priorities to make up for the anticipated decrease in state aid.
The student affairs committee also discussed what students have to look forward to this academic year. The committee praised Morgan Hall for offering a new gathering space for students as well as better dining options.
The committee listened to a report by the Temple Student Government on plans to build better services for students and increase student involvement. Student Body President Darin Bartholomew said TSG was working with SEPTA to make student IDs work with SEPTA’s new payment system.
Luo said TSG’s plans to increase student involvement were important for the university’s revenue and ranking across the country.
“If students can give back even $1 or $5, we can increase our rating to top 50 in the country,” Luo said.
The entire Board of Trustees will meet on Oct. 8 to discuss Temple’s direction for the next year. Despite the pressing issues on the table, many of the board’s subcommittees canceled or postponed their meetings this week.
Janet Carruth, Assistant Secretary of the Board of Trustees, said each committee meets four times a year, and rarely cancels their meetings. The Budget and Finance, Athletics, and Executive committees have not held public meetings since the spring.
“Some of the committees had nothing new on the agenda, so they felt meeting was not necessary,” Carruth said. Student Affairs never cancels their meetings because, Carruth said, they have a commitment to students who may want to attend their public meetings.
Chairman Rovner said the Student Affairs committee will present a report on enrollment, student services and diversity when the entire board meets on Oct. 8.
Joe Gilbride is the Board of Trustees best writer for The Temple News and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @TempleNewsBOT.