Although Ofo Ezeugwu ends his term as Temple Student Government vice president of external affairs in a few weeks, he doesn’t plan on walking away from programs he began, such as Kids-to-College, a program that puts local middle and high school students in touch with current college students; and Whose Your Landord, a website where students can rate their satisfaction with their current landlords.
The Temple News caught up with Ezeugwu to find out what he gained this past year and his plans for himself, and the future of his programs, once he graduates in May.
The Temple News: How has this past year been for you as part of TSG?
Ofo Ezeugwu: This past year has been a blessing. We accomplished a lot of the things we set out to [achieve] last spring and not only that, it’s been really fun getting to know people. I’m a really goal-oriented person, so setting out and having all of these goals to achieve along the way and really [accomplishing] mostly all of them is the best part of my TSG experience. We have a solid team and we’ve proved it day in and day out.
We’ve really been visible. People see us all the time and more people know what [TSG does] as opposed to previous years.
TTN: What’s been the most rewarding experience for you?
OE: I’d say it’s getting people to see how important it is to help other people. The Kids-to-College program, making sure people vote and know where to vote, speaking in Harrisburg on behalf of students fighting for funding.
TTN: How did Whose Your Landlord do since its launch last semester?
OE: It went really well. We launched on Oct. 24. We were able to get covered in Philadelphia on TV and on KYW news radio. Temple was good about [cooperating too], giving us receipts from their actual accounts. It’s been phenomenal.
Now we look to expand more outside of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, and move on to New York in the next couple of months. We’re all still students, we’re all super involved and we all have other endeavors outside of school but we were able to accomplish a lot with the [website] and it’s only been a few months.
TTN: What do you have planned for the future of Kids-to-College?
OE: As the program has been going on I’ve been getting more emails about people looking to get involved and people have been sending me their résumés. Administrators reached out to me, too, about either moving the program forward or what they could do to help.
In the future we’ll be thinking more about the 20/20 scholarship program and how students from Philadelphia can apply for that program. It’s kind of like a call for action. The program will grow. I think the focus for the next year and the next administration will be how do we then get those students more engaged, more involved. We should make it so they can reach out to us as mentors.
TTN: How do the students respond to Kids-to-College?
OE: The kids have been phenomenal. I think [as you get older] you always look up to and want connect with the person one step above you. So when you’re in high school you can’t wait to be in college, and when you look at the college students they can’t wait to get on their own.
The students ask questions about things like financials and how they can plan [for] college, and they also ask us things about our [everyday life] like, “What’s North Philly like on a social level?”
So far it’s only been positive feedback and after our first group [visited Main Campus] for a tour, and I got an email two hours later [from a teacher] saying, “Thank you, Ofo, for running that program. I was talking to the students on the bus and they all agreed that was the best part of the day.” When you hear stuff like that you realize you do make a difference.
TTN: What are you going to do to make sure Kids-to-College and Whose Your Landlord continue once you graduate in May?
OE: What we’re doing now is putting together our transition reports, that will convey to the next person in line [for our positions] what they need to focus on, areas that we need to see grow, things to do better and what didn’t work. That would only be the first step.
The second step would be to sit with [the new administration] and walking them through the process of [running these programs].
I would even love it if I could come in next year and be a part of these panels and talk about life after college.
I plan to still be involved pretty heavily but I also realize it’s a role to let people take up – and I’m happy for that.
TTN: What are your plans after graduating?
OE: I’m actually moving to Brooklyn at the end of May when my lease runs out here. I’ll be doing acting and modeling. I’m [represented by] Wilhelmina Philadelphia right now. I’ll also be running my own business Untapped, Inc.
TTN: How did you get involved in acting and modeling?
OE: I got involved in November 2011. People always ask me about how I got into it expecting a story like I was sitting on a train and somebody walk by me and said, “Hey! You should be a model.”
There was a week-and-a-half period where [people would tell me] I should model. So instead of reacting to what people were saying and going right to it, I went home and did my research. I found the top modeling agencies in Philadelphia because I figured I’d be here for a couple more years.
I ended up going with Wilhelmina. It’s kind of crazy how that happened because when I went there to fill out my application I heard someone call out, “Ofo!” I turned around and my best friend from home’s cousin was actually working for Wilhelmina. I ended up signing with them, and it’s all been [going up] since then.
Luis Fernando Rodriguez can be reached at email@example.com. or on Twitter @theluisfernando.