The recently appointed Director of the Office of Student Activities hopes to make sure student needs are met during the next phase of Student Center renovation while continuing to provide programs for the Temple University community.
University officials appointed Marquerita Calicat, who had been serving as the Acting Director of Student Activities since July 2002, as director over winter break.
Calicat said she is excited about her active role and involvement with the planning phase of the renovations.
“Students want a place to be,”she said.
“They want a place to hang out or sit down and eat before class. My goal is to realize and maximize the space we have by understanding the pulse of what our students want.”
Calicat said she plans to talk to students about what they want and create a concept of their ideal Student Center.
“I really want to get a handle on the student needs and see whether or not the current Student Center environment is meeting them or not,”she said.
“I feel right now we’re doing a good job, but you can always do more.”
In addition to the planned Student Center renovations, Calicat said she hopes to simplify the process that organizations have to go through to use the building’s space.
She also wants to work on better public notice of Student Activity events.
“I’m going to be the active voice for students,”Calicat said.
“Students come to us with needs and desires and it’s our responsibility to be their voice.”
Calicat joined the Student Activities office in March 1990 and served as a Program Coordinator for a year-and-a-half before being promoted to Associate Director of Student Activities.
Prior to her tenure at Temple, she served as the Director of Student Activities at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa. and Housing Services Director at the Art Institute of Philadelphia.
Calicat said that she found her passion for student affairs work as an undergraduate at Cabrini, where she worked as a resident assistant and member of student government.
The University’s Dean of Students, James Fitzsimmons, said that Calicat’s willingness to pitch in and oversee numerous student activities has been a trademark of her career.
“Rita is a very student-centered leader who has demonstrated excellent personal and professional skills,”Fitzsimmons said.
“Rita’s commitment of time and talent has been an asset to Temple University students, faculty and staff for over a decade and I am confident that she will continue to work extremely well with our community in the years to come.”
Part of that continued effort will involve the close working relationship that Student Activities has with Temple student Andrae Williams, president of the University’s Main Campus Program Board.
Williams said he is looking forward to working with Calicat.
“I’m really happy for her,”Williams said.
“She’s been involved with the Temple community for a long time and knows what to expect and always finds time to work with us individually.”
Calicat is active outside of the Temple community; she volunteers at her church as a drug and alcohol counselor in addiction recovery programs and as a teacher in a Sunday school for adults.
She has also worked with group homes and is a foster parent.
“This is an exciting time to be at Temple,”Calicat said. “No two days are the same and you really don’t know what challenges you’re going to day-to-day.”
Chris Powell can be reached at TUJournalist@hotmail.com.