Temple Student Government is making strides toward achieving several of its goals from its 2018-19 campaign platform.
The body will work to improve the Flight shuttle system, create a mentorship program for domestic and international students in the same major and improve access to transfer student and mental health resources through TUportal. The administration has until May to complete its initiatives, but TSG elections for its successor begin in March.
TSG still has several platform points to address before elections begin. Initiatives to expand Temple Police’s patrol boundaries, install a compost facility and create scholarships for North Philadelphia youth are in the works, said Kate Lyn Broom, TSG’s deputy chief of staff.
Emanuel Wilkerson, an at-large Parliament representative, is hopeful the body will meet its goals this semester.
“We were established to be the voice of the student body,” he said. “We are accountable to the students, and we are the students’ government.”
Since it was first introduced in Spring 2016, Flight, an on-demand campus shuttle service, was almost immediately met with problems, like long wait times and a glitchy app, The Temple News reported. TSG administrations and Temple Police have been attempting to improve the service since after its introduction.
Tabbi Cavaliere, an undeclared freshman, said the Flight ride she requested took a very long time to arrive.
“Just [Saturday] night, I tried to take one, and the Flight time was like an hour, which I get, cause it’s a cold night,” Cavaliere said. “…I was waiting from 2:30 [a.m.] and then it passed 3 [a.m.] too, so I don’t even know. I ended up walking home, but I feel like it wouldn’t have even come because it was past 3.”
Parliament voted on Jan. 28 to complete an exploratory campaign to shorten wait times, minimize cancellations and ensure that Flights arrive to get students home.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENT MENTORSHIP
The Senior Leadership Team, TSG’s executive branch, is working on its platform point to strengthen its Peer-Mentorship Program. It will reinitiate a 2017 suggestion to partner international students with students from the United States.
Last semester, TSG only received only 18 applications for the program and struggled to pair students together due to their schedules, said Marvin Manalo, TSG’s deputy director of campus life and diversity at TSG’s first Spring 2019 town hall meeting last week. TSG will recruit more students to participate in the program this semester and former applicants will have to re-apply in order to be assigned a mentor or mentee.
The program had more than 70 applicants in its inaugural year in 2017-18 during ActivateTU’s administration.
The mentorship program is important because it can bridge the gap between domestic and international students, Broom said.
“International students are our constituents,” she added. “Over the years, TSG has received a lot of feedback that they’re not feeling represented.”
Wenting Ao, a junior communication studies major from China, said she was involved with TSG’s mentorship program to improve her English when she was a freshman. Ao’s mentor did not show up for their scheduled meetings, she said.
“If I were a freshman, I definitely would be interested,” Ao said. “But now, after I participated, since it was not a great experience, I probably will not participate again.”
“Before, it was not very professional,” she added.
Shunyu Li, a second-year economics graduate student said a mentorship program for international students would help them become comfortable making conversation with American students and give them opportunities to learn about the city. When Li first came to Philadelphia as a freshman, she experienced a culture shock, she said.
“But mentors could tell you some tips, how to fit in here and some good places to visit in Philadelphia,” Li said. “…For me, [what] I wanted the most was some American-style slang. I really wanted to know more American youth, teenagers, what they use for language, what they talk about.”
Parliament will also research what it would take to add a “student resources tab” to TUportal. The tab would link students to mental health and other school resources.
On Jan. 28, the body voted to send the idea back to committee to look into the feature more and revisit the idea.
Previous TSG administrations attempted to address students’ lack of access to Tuttleman Counseling Center and passed a binding resolution in 2017 to hire more counselors.