Student Body President Aron Cowen was inducted yesterday at a General Assembly meeting alongside vice president of external affairs Jai Singletary and vice president of services Kelly Dawson.
On March 31, Empower TU won Temple Student Government’s 2016-17 election by capturing 32 percent of the 4,112 total votes cast.
Empower TU plans to bring change to TSG by implementing a 40-person parliamentary system to better represent the students, build relationships with the community and continue to improve policies introduced by the previous administration, Future TU.
The 40-body parliament will consist of 20-at large representatives, 13 representatives from each undergraduate college and seven issued-based representatives.
In this year’s TSG election, voter turnout dropped by 467 votes. Empower TU, however, hopes its new parliament system will make students feel like their voice matters.
“We represent a body of now roughly 38,000 individuals and it would be wrong to segregate a portion of individuals who aren’t wrong, per se, but what they are is passionate about the community,” Singletary said.
The group, however, has yet to take a side on the talks of a possible football stadium that could be built in North Philadelphia after Temple’s record-setting football season.
Singletary said he and Dawson attended the Day of Action protests last week to listen to students and community members’ concerns about the stadium.
Empower TU believes it needs to learn more about the stadium and its possible effects on Temple and North Philadelphia before reaching a conclusion on the situation.
“There’s a lot of meetings that we haven’t gotten to sit in on yet that would be from different perspectives,” Dawson said. “We’re looking forward to getting to do that and developing a more well-informed opinion for ourselves.”
By listening to both sides of the stadium issue, they can go to the Board Of Trustee meetings in the future with the most amount of information, Empower TU said.
Currently, there isn’t a student member that can vote on BOT decisions, whereas Pennsylvania State University and Lincoln University both have a participating student member.
Cowen said adding a voting member to the BOT could be possible by reaching out to Gov. Tom Wolf.
“Right now the governor appoints the student body president of Penn State to the board each year,” Cowen said. “So it would just be reaching out to the governor’s office and saying, ‘Hey us too.’”
Cowen said the point of issue-based representatives is to reflect the problems of a variety of students around Temple.
“The experiences of two different people in the same major, the experiences of two different people in the same year can be vastly different if they’re a commuter, if they’re in Greek life, if they’re in a multicultural org,” Cowen said. “These are all things that really do lead to different college experiences and different concerns and needs.”
He added they would also look for representatives from the athletics community, intramural athletics, LGBTQ, honors, disability resource and others.
Empower TU will hold elections for their parliament in September of the fall semester after working on it during the summer, they said.
“A lot of people feel disconnected from Temple Student Government and that’s something we really want to work on because we’re here to represent students,” Cowen said. “So we want to make sure they truly feel that their voice does matter, because once they feel their voice matters, they’re going to use it. They’re going to take charge of their education.”
Tom Ignudo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Ignudo5.