Temple Student Government is hoping to kick off the academic year with what they call a “hands-on” approach by using social media and sitting in group meetings to take student and community voices seriously.
“We want to have an active role,” Student Body President Ryan Rinaldi said. “We don’t want our only time and our only interaction face-to-face with students to be that 4 o’clock TSG meeting.”
Rinaldi anticipates using this approach through initiatives involving combating sexual assault, connecting to the student body through social media and improving community relations.
Rinaldi said TSG plans on finding ways to continue TUnity, an initiative that debuted last October to encourage acceptance of differences and diversity among the Temple community.
The team also complemented last year’s executive team in its response to sexual assault allegations involving former trustee Bill Cosby.
“What Bill Cosby did is wrong and we do not condone that behavior,” Rinaldi said. “Temple and Ray [Smeriglio] last year handled that situation very well in addressing that.”
There will also be an emphasis on combating and preventing sexual assault on campus through the “It’s On Us” campaign, a public service announcement from the White House to raise awareness about the issue. Rinaldi said this topic is especially crucial, following the formation of the “White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.”
Vice President of External Affairs Binh Nguyen met with Michelle Obama’s Chief of Staff Tina Tchen to discuss future ideas for programming and events to continue progress.
“[We want to] make sure Temple is on the forefront of that initiative,” Rinaldi said. “It’s a great step and it’s something we’re happy to continue.”
A school-wide online assessment will also be launched to educate and raise awareness about sexual assault.
“I think a big push we’re going to have is communicating that to the student body,” said Eric Hamilton, TSG’s chief of staff. “Making sure they’re aware of it, making sure everyone gets that done.”
“It’s an ongoing process and combating sexual assault is something that’s going to take a long-term approach,” Rinaldi said. “It’s going to be very important to make sure that we’re following up on next steps and making sure that plans are being put into action and we see some real results.”
Administrative members of TSG will attend organizations’ meetings and events, with the goal of listening and addressing potential problems.
“A big task we’re going to be facing is not just guessing what students want, but actually having concrete information from students … to really see how students feel and not just assuming because assuming only gets you so far,” Hamilton said.
Improving community relationships will continue, Rinaldi said. Adopt-a-Block, a service initiative for organizations to clean a designated block near campus, will continue. The Good Neighbor Initiative, which aims to improve relations between students and residents, will also be emphasized.
“We were elected because the student body appreciated our platform,” Nguyen said. “So we want to be really consistent and concise in making sure that we’re bringing all those points to action.”
Lian Parsons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Lian_Parsons.
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