The Philly Five coalition—which includes Temple, La Salle University, Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania and St. Joseph’s University—met last weekend on St. Joe’s campus.
The coalition met on Temple’s campus in October 2015. This meeting was a TSG initiative to gather the five student body presidents of the Philly Five schools and exchange ideas of what the schools do well and recommendations for improvement.
At the initial meeting in October, the group discussed preventing domestic violence, sexual assault and alcohol abuse, Student Body President Ryan Rinaldi said.
“The first one was us realizing what we could do with this group. We realized at that meeting that we can have hard discussions about diversity, and talk about sexual assault and alcohol,” Rinaldi said.
Nick Chingas, student body president of St. Joe’s said there was a feeling of comfort to talk to people who deal with similar problems to the ones he experiences, like voter turnout.
“It was really uncanny to be able to sit down with people who share some of the same problems that I face,” Chingas said. “It was more or less eye-opening and I was pleased to discover that.”
The recent meeting was also a follow-up to see if any improvements were made to the topics addressed in the first meeting, Rinaldi said.
Both Rinaldi and Chingas said they were pleased with the Philly Five’s first two meetings.
“All of us involved thought it was a huge success and it was really great to get this group together to talk about a lot of the issues that our schools face and find points of commonality between our universities and what our students government do to address a lot of the issues in question,” Chingas said.
At the most recent meeting, all of the student body presidents brought their successors. The day started with a tour of St. Joe’s campus, followed by the meeting.
“This conversation was more so around diversity and inclusion on campus,” Rinaldi said. “How student governments can understand the diverse needs of student and how to work with that and work with different university officials to overcome that.”
The current student body representatives hope the meetings can continue bi-annually. The location of the meeting will be on rotation every semester, Rinaldi said.
The Philly Five representatives feel it ultimately helps the students they represent if they continue to meet regularly.
“Philadelphia is a college town and it benefits the students we represent if we can get together and discuss best practices among us,” Chingas said.
Jonathan Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jonnygilbs96.