Dress shoes, a black suit and a red tie have been a common wardrobe for Temple Student Government Student Body President David Lopez during the past year. Since his inauguration in April 2012, Lopez has spent his senior year representing the voice of the student body to university officials and the local community.
“David has been a fantastic Temple student body president, he has been a model for strong leadership, collaborative leadership and strategic thinking,” Dean of Students Stephanie Ives said.
However, on Monday, May 6, Lopez’s term as president will end when Temple United, the newly elected executive ticket, is inaugurated.
“It has gone so unbelievably fast. From the day we were inaugurated to today, I haven’t had that moment when I processed that I am actually leaving. It still hasn’t registered with me, because there is so much more I want be working on,” Lopez said.
Lopez, a senior political science major, never planned to become student body president, but after serving as the chief of staff during the TU Nation administration, Lopez decided he wanted to campaign for the top position.
“I came to the realization that TSG is a great way to advocate on behalf of the students, and it is a great culmination of all of the things that I knew that I wanted to do and the things that I learned,” Lopez said.
Lopez describes his year serving as student body president as “organized chaos” and an endless consumption of coffee.
“I have trained myself to believe that sleep is the enemy,” Lopez said.
During his term, Lopez and his administration introduced the Adopt-a-Block campaign, which garnered more than 2,000 hours of community service for TSG and student organizations, hosted a large campaign to register students to vote in the 2012 presidential election, started the Kids-to-College program and hosted the largest number ever of student advocates in Harrisburg, Pa., on Owls on the Hill Day.
Lopez and Vice President of External Affairs Ofo Ezeugwu said they believe their greatest accomplishment was raising the awareness of TSG amongst the student body.
“When it comes down to the specifics and certain initiatives, they are great, they are phenomenal, but getting students more engaged and more involved is more important than anything else because they are the ones who help you lead those initiatives and those efforts,” Lopez said.
Behind the scenes, Ezeugwu not only describes Lopez as an efficient leader who is able to motivate his team to work hard and get their jobs done but also as an interesting character.
Ives also said she admires the balance Lopez’s character brought to the student body president position.
“He is serious, but he also has a great sense of humor. He is thoughtful and intellectual, but he can be very emotionally intelligent as well. He is very well rounded and I have a great appreciation for his personality,” Ives said.
Outside of TSG, Lopez formerly served as president of Temple College Democrats and serves as an Owl Ambassador, which he attributes as the starting point for his involvement in the university.
“It was my first introduction to the Temple community outside of the role of a student. Finding this group of people and this job set the precedent and got me more engaged and more involved. I look back at that job literally as the starting point for my Temple experience,” Lopez said.
As Lopez’s time as an Owl comes to an end, he has a long-term plan for his life that includes running for public office and hopefully one day serving as a United States senator.
Lopez plans to work for the next two-to-three years before attending law school. Upon graduation from law school, Lopez wants to return to a big city and work in a public defender’s office and then get involved in public service.
However, Lopez is still uncertain of his next step after he graduates on May 16.
“I want to work with the federal government, but the budget is tight because of the sequester and the mandatory budget cuts are preventing a bunch of different agencies and departments from hiring,” Lopez, who interned at the White House last summer, said.
“For the first time in my life, I’m just going to go with the flow,” he said. “One thing that I learned after interning at the White House is that not everyone in this world has to have an agenda. You don’t need to have every day of your life planned out, and sometimes opportunities present themselves and it ends up being something you wanted more than you thought you wanted.”
Laura Detter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.