TSG officials started the year running, planning initiatives and proposing ideas for new offices.
This year, Temple Student Government has quite a few plans under way – including changes for student life, academic counseling, student organizations and its own operation.
“I think what’s interesting about this year is that the administration is focused on the students’ voice. That’s definitely something TSG is trying to push,” Government Operations Senate Chair Kevin Gerard said.
One of its major initiatives is to create a caucus of student governments from colleges and universities in Philadelphia in order to address local issues, such as the recent possibility of Temple losing $175 million in Commonwealth appropriations.
“We teamed up with Penn State, and that put pressure on representatives,” TSG President Kylie Patterson said. “Many of us pay taxes and live here all year long, so why not get laws passed that benefit us? At the end of the day, we’re citizens, and we deserve to get our voices heard.”
For student organizations, allocations procedures have changed considerably.
“We’ve completely changed the guidelines, taking it from 12 pages to four,” Allocations Chair Natalie Ramos-Castillo said. “We promote organizations collaborating and coming up with new ideas.” A student film festival and sponsorship of an impoverished child by student organizations are among proposed ideas.
TSG secured $500 for newly registered student organizations and will enforce weekly allocation deadlines to cut down wait time for checks. Paper applications for funds have been eliminated to be eco-friendly.
“We want more organization conferences and accountability to TSG,” Ramos-Castillo said.
“Senate committees will be a liaison with student organizations, with Christine Jackson who handles charges, with Alicia Ferguson who handles room reservations,” Ramos-Castillo added. “So, if an event is cancelled, money won’t be frozen.”
TSG plans to work closely with Program Coordinator of Student Activities Maureen Fisher, who enforces General Activity Fee guidelines, and Director of Student Activities Gina D’Annunzio.
GAF guidelines apply to all Temple-sponsored events for students. Regulations include that events be open to the whole campus but may not incorporate alcohol, transportation or lodging. TSG said it wants students to be more informed of these events.
“Our goal is informing students of resources and services on campus,” Director of Public Relations Renee Gordon said. “Most are included in tuition.”
TSG’s first senate meeting will be held Sept. 21 at Tyler, in an attempt to reconnect students with art on campus.
“A lot of students who come to the meetings might not have even been [inside Tyler’s new building],” Gordon said.
“We have to increase awareness of performing arts on campus, plays, operas at Boyer,” said director of campus art Maurice Williams, adding that he’d like to see Tyler students become more integrated with Main Campus activities.
To further student advocacy, TSG is proposing college counselors who would be devoted to a particular major. The counselors could hear students’ issues and then take their findings to the senate.
Also on TSG’s agenda are the proposals for shuttles throughout the city, to places like South Philadelphia for essential shopping trips and the airport for fall, winter and spring recesses.
“It’s inconvenient to catch a taxi or Regional Rail,” Patterson said. “There aren’t many places nearby that have choices for food and furniture.”
These efforts are an attempt to adhere to the administration’s push for student immersion into city culture, with introductions like the Philadelphia Experience passports for freshmen.
“It gets students in the city to learn outside of the classroom,” Patterson added, “[but] it’s dangerous to be out late without transportation to get home.”
A new course on mural painting may be on its way as well. The proposed curriculum, which would include a history of murals – from Renaissance art to paintings near Main Campus and throughout the city, could be introduced as early as the Fall or Spring 2010 semester.
TSG Chief of Staff Jarae Hines said the potential program has “been received very well.”
“Quite a few administrators are willing to donate a wall,” added Patterson. “It’s a great way to show appreciation for the city with the most beautiful murals and most in number.”
Further concerning academics, an Office of Competitive Scholarships and Fellowships has been proposed.
“It’s difficult for some, who would qualify, to find resources and be more competitive in the market,” Patterson said, speaking from her own past experiences. “I had a unique opportunity to benefit from these programs, and they exist for everyone. It’s just a matter of knowing about them.”
TSG also proposed a travel stipend for students’ to go to and from unpaid internships.
To further offset students’ costs, TSG suggested a book depository, where students would donate older versions of books that cannot be sold back. In collaboration with Paley Library, the books would then be available for students’ use throughout the semester.
TSG’s State of the Campus Address will be held Sept. 28 in the Student Center.
“The mood is changing to the way it was a few years ago,” Gordon said, “involving more people who are interested in student government because it is everyone’s campus.”
Bianca Brown can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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