Change is coming to Temple.
A new, multipartisan student organization called Temple Students for America recently formed and will begin its first full semester in the fall.
The organization was created by Kevin Inacker, Kevin Maggio, Joel Dahan and Jessie Wolfe after Barack Obama’s presidential campaign ended.
“We basically got together after the campaign was over and said, ‘We have a lot more work to do,’” said Inacker, a junior political science major and president of TSFA. “The election might be over, and Obama might be in office, but there’s still so much out there to do as far as community activism and getting people out to make the change that we realized was possible through the election.”
The fall of 2008 saw a political campaign focused on the differences among political parties.
“My No. 1 goal is to bring people from all political facets of the community on campus to the table and try to get them to move past the talking points instead of just yelling at each other,” Inacker said. “I really want Temple students to talk to each other and see what their differing opinions are and try to come to a consensus and build a real political community here at Temple.”
“I think this is essential,” said Barry Scatton, a junior political science major and president of Temple College Republicans. “There isn’t anything in politics that goes on where people don’t have to negotiate with each other on different issues and compromise.”
“Respect for other people’s opinions and views has been lost in modern politics, but what we need is to bring that back,” Inacker said.
Inacker described the main components of TSFA: political discussion and debate and community outreach.
“When people are friends and they get along, they’re a lot less likely to throw insults at each other,” Inacker said.
TSFA has already begun reaching out to other political organizations on campus.
“You can’t have reasonable discussions without understanding where the other side is coming from. I think part of college is being exposed to different viewpoints. That’s how we become better people and more mature,” Scatton said. “I think it’s good for the campus, and I think it’s good for other groups to get together and talk to each other.”
Danny Dunphy, a junior mathematical economics major and president of Temple College Democrats, had similar sentiments to share.
“Any new organization that aims to politically empower Temple students is worthwhile and can be a valuable asset to the Temple community,” he said. “They aim to work in an impressive, nonpartisan fashion that is highly essential yet often forgotten, and, of course, continue to create political discourse within the Temple community.”
Both Dunphy and Scatton have agreed to work and collaborate with TSFA.
“We need to have the discussions and have the debates about the hard issues without all the demagoguery that goes along with it,” Inacker said. “Let’s get together, and let’s talk. A range of ideas is always a good thing. We should be encouraging people to go out and share their beliefs. That’s the only way that we become smarter as a society, by talking, by exchanging ideas.”
“Given the current social and economic struggles in the city of Philadelphia and the United States of America at large,” Dunphy said, “I think collaboration with Temple Students for America is vital to helping Temple students understand and participate in their government and in the political process.”
“This is not the time to be closed off,” Inacker said. “This is the time to open up. During the inauguration, Obama said, ‘If you unclench your fist, we’ll outstretch our hand.’ I think that’s the perfect metaphor for what we’re trying to do.”
Kathryn A. López can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.