Angelo Fichera: Promises mean nothing, representation is everything

It’s more worthwhile to consider which TSG student body presidential candidate will be the most influential rather than execute their ticket’s platform.

The polls open today for next year’s Temple Student Government’s executive office. Yes, student government. We have one of those.

If you didn’t know ­­– you’re not alone. But I’m not here to chastise TSG for its past efforts to reach out to the student body. Instead, I’m looking ahead and hoping to help the TSG-aware students, or hopeful voters, do the same.
Angelo Fichera
For the completely uninformed students, we have two tickets: Owl Future and TU Nation. Both tickets offer TSG experience of some sort and are comprised of students who are active in the university community.

In order to be an informed voter, though, you should know what to look for in your future student body officers. But first, maybe you should know what not to look for.

Of course, you can go with the age-old choice of picking the candidate that promises you the most, well, stuff. But, if you do, don’t shed a tear when said promises are found to be empty.

The candidates can throw the idea of more “giveaways,” such as free SEPTA tokens, but think of the logistics and likelihood. Even if the money was there, I doubt you’ll be taking complimentary rides down to the Broad Street Line every Saturday next semester.

The candidates can promise to extend TSG’s reach to the “apathetic” student body – the buzz word tossed around by members when pinpointing the root of low student involvement in their workings. But the problem has been identified again and again.

The conclusion stays the same: There’s no foolproof solution to list in a so-called platform.

Maybe I’m being apathetic myself. Or, just maybe, I’m being realistic.

So what should you look for?

Well, because the four vice presidential candidates on both tickets have close to no previous experience inside TSG – the only exception being Owl United’s Megan Chialastri, who served as the sergeant at arms for one semester before leaving the organization – you should study your two potential study body presidents, Colin Saltry and Malcolm Kenyatta.

The most meaningful reason for voting for a student body president is representation.

By voting for your future student body president, you’re voting for next year’s face of Temple’s student body. When Temple is facing future budget cuts or when a policy is past due for a revamping, your student body president is, hopefully, going to be the one lobbying for you.

TSG Student Body President Natalie Ramos-Castillo suggested students consider this when taking to the polls.

“This upcoming year there’s going to be a lot of budget problems and a lot of issues with possible programs being cut [and] tuition being raised,” Ramos-Castillo said. “You [have] to look at who’s really going to be pushing for that ‘cause that affects everyone.”

“Can you see them speaking calm, cool and collective and really understanding both sides?” Ramos-Castillo added, noting that the key is to offer officials student insight and perspective on issues.

All mechanical issues with TSG set aside, the real power with the organization lies with the student body president’s seriousness when representing students at meetings with administrators, the Board of Trustees, state representatives or anyone of the like.

Whether 2,000 students or 20,000 students take part in the TSG elections, the appointment of one of the candidates is inevitable. And, whether you like either of the candidates or not, one of them will still be meeting with people who have a direct impact on your Temple life and, most likely, your wallet.

So, even if you’re the most TSG-illiterate student on Main Campus, I suggest you consider the two tickets closely, determine who will represent you best, and, finally, vote. At some point, you need to put your money where your mouth is.

Angelo Fichera can be reached at afichera@temple.edu.

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