As the spring semester continues to wind down, so does Oscar Chow’s term as Temple Student Government president. Over the past year, Chow held the position, striving to work toward “A Stronger Temple.”
Throughout the 2005-06 school year, Chow worked with his team, addressing various issues of diversity, advising, class scheduling and campus safety.
Chow, born in Central America but a Philadelphia resident since age 2, started out as a business major his freshman year, but soon switched to political science.
“I just went out on a leap of faith,” he said. “I want to help people who can’t help themselves. I want to represent the people.”
Chow began participating in TSG his freshman year, which gave him the experience necessary to act as TSG president. Chow unsuccessfully ran for the coveted presidential position during his sophomore year, but he used the election as a way to get his name out on campus for future elections.
When he ran for office last April, Chow said his experience in TSG was what helped him win the election against the candidates on the “Spread the Love” slate, which consisted of Andrew Pittz, Victor Feinman and Catherine Stanford.
“They were young,” he said, when speaking of the other candidates. “At one point they were all freshmen.”
Chow said he appreciated their efforts, but knew his experience would work in his favor.
“It’s ambitious to come in and automatically believe you are going to be the voice of the university,” he said. “You need to step back for a second and learn a little bit more.”
Even though he came into office with four years of experience, he said even that experience didn’t completely prepare him to take the reigns as TSG president.
Chow said he remembers when he first began making preparations for the school year over the summer. As Chow sat alone in his office, he contemplated the role that he would portray to thousands of students and the direction of his next step.
“It was challenging … really learning who I am that people have to look to,” he said.
“My greatest challenge was that first step. You start making phone calls, writing e-mails … [and] then people start returning them. Everything starts falling into place. Once you get the momentum, there is not much that can stop you.”
One of Chow’s goals as TSG president is taking TSG and the university to a new frontier.
“We’ve accomplished a lot and more,” Chow said. “You’re not going to accomplish everything, but everything I wanted to address has been addressed.”
According to Chow, roughly 19,000 students applied for admission for the 2006-07 school year, but only 3,000 to 4,000 will be admitted.
“That’s amazing,” he said. “Nineteen thousand people want to go here. Temple has really grown. We’re in a big change. Our academics have grown stronger. The university is renowned.” Chow his position takes countless hours of dedication.
“I meet with people at the weirdest hours,” he said. “My job is not 9 to 5, it’s whenever to whenever.”
Along with school and TSG, Chow dedicates time to his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha and his newly founded group, Brothers and Sisters of Christ. He also works for Red Bull.
“And sometimes life gets in the way,” Chow said. “I’m very good at time management. I know exactly what needs to get done and when it needs to get done by.”
Throughout his time dedicated to TSG, Chow gained appreciation for the position and understanding how the position works. In order to effectively serve as TSG president, one has to know the inner-workings of the administration, Chow said.
Through experience in TSG, Chow said he learned how to work with the numerous sectors of the university’s administration, which has benefited the progression of TSG and the student body.
“A lot of times it can be frustrating. You want something done, but you have to go through someone else to make it happen,” he said.
“By learning how it all works, I have a greater appreciation for it.”
Chow said he established many relationships with leaders of the university, President David Adamany being one of them.
“He was very helpful,” Chow said. “I learned a lot from him. I’m sorry to see him leave, but I think he is making the best decision for himself and the university.”
Chow said he hopes building a stronger Temple does not stop at the end of his term. The student body will vote for a new president next week.
Chow plans on working with the president-elect to ensure a smooth and informative transition.
“I hope it continues to be as strong of an administration as it is now,” he said. “We were stronger this year than last, and next year will be stronger than this year.”
As Chow’s term as president quickly comes to a close, so does his last semester of college.
Chow plans on attending law school in the fall and is anxiously awaiting responses from various schools. Although the end is near, he still has a lot to take care of.
“Senioritis hasn’t hit me,” he said. “I’m so busy I have no time to sit back and chill.”
Vice President of Student Affairs Christina Ackas, a senior BTMM major who worked alongside Chow this year, said Chow has exceeded her expectations as president.
“He was a superb president thus far,” she said. “He speaks on behalf of the students. He’s dedicated. He definitely leads with integrity. He served his term great.”
Ackas said the administration worked well together, even if they didn’t always agree on every issue.
“We always had different points of view, but Oscar always considered our opinions,” Ackas said.
“He always worked with it if the executive board agreed with it. It wasn’t a dictatorship,” she added. “He always took our views into account.”
According to Chow, the entire process has been a constant progression and constant growth. Chow also said he has nothing but praise for his administration and commended their work over the past year.
“There are always things you wish you’d done differently,” he said.
“You wish you knew then what you knew now. That’s the beauty of life. You learn from your mistakes and you move on. I have no regrets.”
Leigh Zaleski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.