We’ll avoid the casual and compulsory references to Philadelphia’s long history of constitutional conventions.
On Sunday, Temple Student Government held a seven-hour meeting to rework its very foundation, for the first time in 25 years, as reported by The Temple News [“TSG discusses Constitutional Convention,” Rebecca Hale, Feb. 26, 2008].
And at its helm was TSG President Juan Galeano, along with Ben Starsky, a graduate extern who first introduced the idea of a student senate, a major change to the operating practices of the group.
“You guys are the founding fathers and mothers of the new constitution,” Galeano told TSG members. “You are making history.”
As reported by The Temple News today [“TSG pens new constitution, first in 25 years,” Rebecca Hale, March 4, 2008], there will be nearly 30 members of the Senate, which will host twice-weekly membership meetings. The Monday General Assembly meetings we have come to know will be, come next August, a thing of the soon forgotten past.
The changes, including reorganization and expansion of executive level TSG members, are largely meant to bolster activity and awareness.
“I don’t think a lot of organizations know about TSG,” one assembly member told The Temple News. “Soon every organization will know about it.”
Rocking the sleep-ridden, governing body of students is a welcome change, one that will surely ride high when the Galeano administration is remembered, but these changes will not increase participation and knowledge of student government for long, if at all.
As it stands, TSG doesn’t seem to be the end-all of student involvement, enrollment and enrichment on Main Campus. Rather, it remains the university’s standard bearer of student power brokers, the most powerful, but just one sphere of influence, to be sure.
Our student government needs to be omnipresent on this campus. When Temple recently chose a new dean for its Japan campus, we didn’t see TSG. When Temple was asking for student voices to increase attendance at athletic events, we didn’t see TSG.
The largest change to be held would be one in which the program boards here and on Ambler, in addition to all of Greek life and aspects of residence life came under the auspices of Galeano, his associates and successors.
That would merit the label of Philadelphia constitutional conventions, indeed.