David Lopez isn’t just a big fish in a small pond. Instead, he considers himself a shark with a laser on his head in a small pond.
Ready to wrap up his third year as a political science major and criminal justice minor, Lopez now has his laser pointed on his next undertaking: Temple Student Government student body president. With elections a week away, Lopez and his ticket – Temple Advocating Progress – are still doing their best to be highly visible and meet as many students as possible.
Lopez has been involved with TSG for the past year as the chief of staff with the TU Nation administration. He said that he joined last year after Vice President of External Affairs and close friend Elliot Griffin encouraged him.
“When the opportunity [to join TSG] presented itself, I thought I shouldn’t pass it up because I’m constantly looking for an opportunity to build myself at Temple and work harder for the sake of Temple,” Lopez said.
But Lopez is no stranger to the game of politics. He’s been involved with student government since middle school, and was the president of his high school class at MMI Preparatory School in Freeland, Pa. for three years. The strongest driving forces for him to get involved so early was the ability to get things done and his natural love for communication, he said.
“I’ve always been involved in student government, making sure that students’ needs are represented,” he said. “If you establish yourself and you establish yourself in a strong manner, you can really be effective, and that’s the type of thing that I’ve always taken pride in.”
“I’m very social,” Lopez added. “I love to have a conversation with people, I love to listen to people, I love to talk to people about things. I don’t want to talk at someone, I want to talk with someone. So, that’s the thing I’ve always enjoyed, even before I was in middle school. [Being involved with TSG] is taking all those things together and putting them all in one. This is where I want to be, and it kind of falls into my career path that I want to take on in life later.”
Lopez also co-hosted a radio show on WHIP with Griffin and his Vice President for Services candidate Julian Hamer, “We the People,” last year. The three discussed general politics and political commentary late at night.
But while he’s been on the TU Nation staff, Lopez said he’s come to understand a lot of the problems the student administrative body has, namely with communication. He said that his effective communication skills and natural inclination to social interactions is key to solving this issue and making TSG a more effective governing body in the future.
“We have TSG administration, and if we can’t communicate effectively between each other then we can’t get tasks done,” he said.
With that drive to communicate effectively, Lopez said he, Hamer and Vice President for External Affairs candidate Ofo Ezeugwu – who together form TAP – have been doing their best to meet as many students as possible on Main Campus, especially those not involved in student organizations.
Lopez said that it’s easy to be known among students in organizations, as they’re the easiest population to reach out to, but the university is made up of more than just those students and his social circle.
“Not everybody at this university knows who I am, but I want to make an extreme effort to try to meet as many people as I possibly can,” he said. “We have said this time and time again: Our student government can only be as effective as the students that are in it. So we need to have students represented from different areas. I mean everything down to transfer students, non-traditional students, students with disabilities. We need to represent all of those different groups if we want to be effective for all those different groups that exist at Temple.”
“I think our bigger focus is to meet students that are freshmen because we notice there’s a big disconnect between what freshmen think of TSG and what TSG actually is, if they even know it exists,” he added.
And thus far, he’s been successful.
On March 20, TAP hosted its campaign kick-off in the Welcome Center, and Lopez said more than 70 people were in attendance, including many Lopez said were outside of the candidates’ immediate social circles.
“Within the first 30 minutes, we had #TapIn trending across the United States,” Lopez said. “I was marveled, I could not believe we managed to do something like that. That just goes to show how strongly we wanted to come out and how strongly we want to stay.”
And win or no win, Lopez still recognizes the opportunity Temple has to offer.
“I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet the people I did or be as successful as I am now in just my personal life if it weren’t just for everything Temple had provided for me,” he said. “The issue is that every student doesn’t know where to go or is too shy. So if you bring those opportunities to light, it will take you so much further.”
“I’m [an Owl Ambassador], and [the opportunity] was my motivating force to do anything and everything at Temple,” Lopez said. “Time and time again when I meet with tours, and talk to families, I always say, ‘Temple is a place of opportunity where you can be a fish in an ocean or a shark in a pond, but it’s up to you at the end of the day.’”
Alexis Sachdev can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.