RepresentTU’s message preaches student equality

RepresenTU, from left to right: Tyler Sewell, Amber O’Brien and Aaliyah Ahmad. | Kara Milstein TTN
RepresenTU, from left to right: Tyler Sewell, Amber O’Brien and Aaliyah Ahmad. | Kara Milstein TTN

For Amber O’Brien, picking her running mates for the upcoming Temple Student Government election was easy.

The current presidential candidate on the RepresenTU ticket, which was announced at the organization’s general assembly meeting yesterday, selected Aaliyah Ahmad and Tyler Sewell to run for vice president of external affairs and vice president of services, respectively.

“I’ve known Tyler for two years now, we met in an orientation session because I presented and he’s an Owl Team leader, and I met [Ahmad] through Temple Student Government,” O’Brien said. “We all kind of knew of each other … so when we decided who I wanted on my ticket, I couldn’t think of anybody better than [Ahmad] and [Sewell].”

The three members of RepresenTU have all had experience with TSG. O’Brien is currently the director of University Pride and Traditions for TSG’s cabinet, Ahmad serves as the director of local and community affairs, and Sewell has represented Kappa Delta Rho, a Temple-affiliated fraternity where he is vice president, at general assembly meetings.

RepresenTU’s platform extends across many aspects of university affairs, O’Brien said. She added that the name itself explains the team’s main goal.

“[RepresenTU] really brings together our platform,” the junior sport and recreation management major said. “We want to represent each and every single student equally. That means not representing one specific group of students, or a specific group that we’re a part of, but rather every single side of this university.”

The group’s platform focuses on several individual initiatives, which are categorized under Student Life, Campus Life and Diversity, Academic Life, Local and Community Affairs, Grounds and Sustainability and Athletics. Ahmad said that if RepresenTU was elected, each part of the platform could be put into effect.

“Every part of our platform, we met with the head of the department just to make sure it would be able to go through if we are elected,” Ahmad, a junior criminal justice major, said. “We met with everybody. Anybody you can think of – administrators, faculty.”

O’Brien said that she formed RepresenTU last semester, and that meetings with administrators about its platform started right after winter break.

The team said that although the university could improve in several areas, a solid foundation is already in place at Temple.

“Looking at past elections, there’s always been that one unconventional ticket that wants to change everything about the university,” O’Brien said. “Both of the tickets going into this [election] have a very good understanding that Temple is a very successful university … we don’t need to knock everything down and start from the bottom, it’s about how we can improve things.”

The candidates are scheduled to debate this month, but dates have not been determined.

O’Brien said that aside from getting the message about her team’s platform, debate preparation is the most important part leading up to the election, which will occur on March 31 and April 1.

“It’s knowing who our competition is, knowing what they have to offer,” she said. “Why are our platforms different? What is different about them? It’s going to be a nightly thing, and we’re not going to get a lot of sleep ever, really … [but] that’s something we’re prepared for.”

Sewell, a junior human resource management major, added that their campaign is not about Future TU’s weaknesses, but rather why RepresenTU would be the best choice for leading TSG.

“We want to say why we think we’re the best candidates,” he said. “To talk about our leadership experience, what we’re involved in, and then really focus on our platform and how we can change Temple.”

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steven.bohnel@temple.edu, 215.204.7419 or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.

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