Vice President of Academic Affairs Ryan Phelan has steadily worked toward enhancing student life since the start of the academic year. Now, he is putting the same effort into improving the Temple community.
Phelan announced at a Temple Student Government meeting last Monday that he is working on a program to create awareness about the Norris Homes apartment buildings.
Located behind Gladfelter Hall, Norris Homes is a part of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, which provides “affordable housing for city residents with limited incomes,” according to its Web site.
Temple has a long-standing relationship with Norris Homes, including providing residents with free basketball and football tickets.
In 1995, the College of Health Professions formally included Norris Homes into the Temple Health Connection, a series of community outreach programs. As part of the agreement, Temple has provided computer and tutoring services to the Norris community center.
Norris Homes helps provide residents with affordable medication, inexpensive medical visits and after-school programs for children, Phelan said.
The Academic Affairs vice president also said he would like to set up a fund-raiser that will provide toys, games, books and money to the Norris Homes after-school program. He said his goal is to make the fund-raiser a campuswide event.
“This is going to be a great project because it encompasses all aspects of the university,” Phelan said, adding that he hopes to include faculty, staff, administration, alumni and corporate sponsorships in his program.
“Most importantly, [the project] will include students working together, not individually, but as a collective,” Phelan said.
In his report, Phelan also spoke about improving the quality of advising sessions.
“We need to create a checks and balances system with advising,” he said, asking the general assembly for more student input. “We need to hold them accountable for everything that they do.”
Phelan also discussed the possible creation of a universal graduation system with the provost and vice provost.
“Many of our colleges have different processes and different deadlines for graduation,” Phelan said. “If we all have the same deadline, we will be able to help each other out more.”
Also at the meeting, TSG President Oscar Chow addressed recent problems with the budget allocations process. He said several organizations have failed to use the money they were allotted. TSG received a $170,000 allocations budget for the 2005-06 school year, a $58,000 increase from last year.
“I really encourage everyone to use their money,” Chow said. “We fought really hard over the summer to acquire [our budget] and right now, [our financial situation] is not looking good. There is too much money coming back.”
Allocations Chair Arsie Solomon said representatives who fail to attend general assembly meetings will jeopardize their organization’s funds.
She said spring semester allocation bills that are tabled more than twice will be dropped.
“If you stop attending general assembly meetings … your organization’s account will be frozen,” she said.
Vice President of Student Affairs Cristina Ackas said she had a “very promising” meeting with new Temple head football coach Al Golden.
“He had lots of plans not just for the football team, but also for relations with athletics and the student body,” Ackas said. “He had me convinced that we will be successful.” Ackas said Phelan and Parliamentarian Alex Barbosa also attended the meeting.
Old faces return
The general assembly meeting yesterday focused on homecoming, athletics and the two former Temple Student Government officers who were in attendance.
Former TSG President Naeem Thompson and former Vice President of Academic Affairs Sarah Baker returned to general assembly to offer suggestions to potential campaign candidates for the 2006-07 election. Several chairpersons took time out of their reports to acknowledge both alumni for their contributions to the university.
Ackas used her weekly report to discuss the newly-formed Homecoming Committee, which she said is “coming along great.”
Ackas, who is one of the directors of the Homecoming Committee, encouraged representatives to attend the committee’s meetings and share their thoughts and opinions.
“Our goal is to make next year’s Homecoming one of the most anticipated ever,” Ackas said.
Ackas said several good ideas were formulated during the meetings. One of the major ideas included filming a Homecoming commercial and airing it prior to the movies played at The Reel, the Student Center cinema. According to Ackas, other potential ideas included receiving more funding from sponsors, increasing advertising, putting together a concert and moving the pep rally to the Liacouras Center.
Phelan said he expects to see an atmosphere similar to a pep rally at the Wachovia Center on Saturday when the men’s basketball team takes on the Duke Blue Devils, the No. 1-ranked team in the nation. Phelan said he does not want to see students visibly supporting the other team at the game.
“It’s understandable to like Duke,” Phelan said. “But Temple needs a lot of support Saturday, so don’t wear your [Duke] T-shirts. Please wear your cherry and white.”
“Let’s be honest, it’s going to be really awkward to [storm] the court after we win, and then notice that we’re all wearing Duke Blue Devil jerseys,” Phelan said.
Tyson McCloud can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.