Natalia Garay is no stranger to serving students on Temple’s campus.
Last semester, she founded Temple’s chapter of Queen in You, an organization that mentors girls and women of color through social events and community service projects.
Garay began her role as Temple Student Government’s director of student affairs this semester. She is prioritizing improving LGBTQ representation on campus and improving Temple’s relationship with North Philadelphia, though she did not provide specifics for any planned initiatives.
“I don’t think that they should have to feel like they need to leave their identity outside of the classroom,” Garay said of LGBTQ-identifying students. “I think that there needs to be more ways on how we can better support them, or be better allies to them, or be better community members to them.”
The senior public relations major said TSG has to help improve the relationship between Temple students and North Philadelphia residents.
“I see the ways in which Temple students engage with the natives of this community, and it’s not always in the most respectful manner,” she added.
Garay also planned Sexual Assault Prevention Week, which took place earlier this month. The week comprised of five events aimed at raising awareness of sexual violence on college campuses.
Serving as director of student affairs is “an opportunity for me to represent not only my person, which is black, Latin, or whatever that all encompasses,” Garay said. “But it’s an opportunity for me to voice the concerns and the opinions of the student body who also may feel the same way I do.”
Natalia is professional in her interactions and has shown a big commitment to organizing Queen In You, said Jennifer Johnson, the faculty adviser for the student organization.
“She’s very motivated in terms of working to secure resources and pretty much fearless and unafraid to share her opinions, whether they are related to the growth of the group or opinions related to some of the challenges around Temple,” Johnson added.
This semester, the organization, along with six others on campus, helped clean trash and leftover debris around a vacant building that previously caught fire at the corner of 16th and Oxford streets, Garay said.
Garay is especially good at listening to students about what they would like to see be better supported on campus, said Laryssa Banks, TSG’s vice president of services.
“There are a lot of perspectives on campus that aren’t seen, and I feel like she can bring that to this role,” Banks said.
“She’s a very driven girl, and she is very big on if she wants something done, she’ll get it done,” she added.