TSG, Progressive NAACP Host Vigil Honoring Jenna Burleigh

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Temple students take a moment of silence in remembrance of Jenna Burleigh.

Temple Student Government and the Progressive NAACP held a vigil in remembrance of Jenna Burleigh. Burleigh, a 22-year-old transfer student, was reported missing by her father one week ago after she did not show up to her classes. After two days of searching, her body was discovered by police in Wayne County, Pennsylvania. Former Temple student, 29-year-old Josh Hupperterz, is charged with killing Jenna after the two met at an off-campus bar. 

When he heard the news of Burleigh’s death, Temple Student Government President, Tyrell Mann-Barnes, wanted to give the Temple University community a safe space to grieve and remember Burleigh. TSG then worked with the Progressive NAACP to create an inclusive space to honor Burleigh’s memory.

“When TSG first found out about [Burleigh’s death] we were at Notre Dame and it was extremely heartbreaking,” Mann-Barnes said. “We wanted to create a vigil where we would have a sense of community and come together to grapple through this grief together instead of going through it alone.”

During the vigil, which was held in Founders Garden, students, faculty and members of the community had the opportunity to speak about their experiences with Burleigh and write letters of sympathy to her family. Burleigh was described by students and faculty as someone who cared deeply for other people and was always looking for ways to help the less fortunate. In her honor, the Burleigh family has created a charity called Jenna’s Blessing Bags for the Homeless, which will provide free backpacks to the homeless. 

Temple University President Richard Englert speaks at Jenna Burleigh’s on-campus vigil.

Temple University President Richard Englert spoke to the crowd about the impact Burleigh made on campus during her short time as a Temple University student.

“I am so impressed with how the Temple University community has responded,” Englert said, “She [Burleigh] is a remarkable woman who had been at Temple for a few days and already she has won the hearts of the Temple community. This is why I am so proud to be at Temple University.”

Mann-Barnes also spoke about on-campus resources that are available to students who are dealing with the loss of Burleigh.

“It is okay to be upset. This is a horrible event and I think it is important to acknowledge the resources we have here on campus,” said Mann-Barnes, “Whether that means going to the Tuttleman Counseling Service, the Wellness Resource Center, or talking to your professors, you do not have to go through it alone because all of us are grappling through this together.”

Construction Continues on New Wellness Center

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Just ten months after breaking ground in August 2016, construction on Temple University’s new Health and Wellness Center is well under way. John Doman, Director of Campus Recreation at Temple, said the new center will have more amenities for students to use in addition to the IBC and TUFF recreation centers. According to Doman, one of the most ideal things about the new facility is the space for weight rooms available to students.

“We’re always looking to improve recreation facilities for students,” said Doman, “One of the areas that we found we were most lacking was the free weight space.”

While the new center is expected to provide students with more amenities, the noise associated with the construction is disrupting some students. Brooke Damore is a senior at Temple who lives across from the construction site on 16th Street. She said the construction impacts her daily routine.

“On a normal day, Monday through Friday, they usually start construction between six and eight in the morning,” Damore said, “I’m a late night person so I don’t go to bed until later to begin with and my classes aren’t until later in the day so it [the construction] wakes me up every morning.”

In response to noise complaints like Damore’s, the university issued a statement saying, “Temple University cares about the impact construction projects may have on nearby residents. We do our best to mitigate any issues and respond to concerns raised by community members who live near construction sites.”

Connecting TU Campaigns for Your Vote in the 2017 TSG Election

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Temple University junior, Ari Abramson, has spent the past six months assembling a team and creating a platform to run for Temple Student Government President. His team, called Connecting TU, is one of two campaigns vying to represent Temple’s student body in the upcoming academic year.

“Since coming to campus in the fall of 2014 I’ve gotten involved with a number of initiatives and a number of clubs,” said Abramson, “I felt at this point in my college career it is the best possible time to run for this position.”

Connecting TU’s platform is made up of three sections: responding to student need, building a sustainable future and enhancing the Temple experience.  In responding to student need, Connecting TU looks to advocate for services that students at Temple have requested such as LGBTQIA+ resources, improving the financial aid process and supporting resources for survivors of sexual assault. Vice Presidential candidate, Dalia Al-Bataineh, said that, if elected, Connecting TU plans to support Women Organized Against Rape’s newly-opened satellite office on main campus. The satellite office offers survivors of sexual assault with a 24/7 hotline number and one-on-one counseling services.
“We want to work with the Women Organized Against Rape Center to help promote them,” said Al-Bataineh, “All students should have that hotline number in their phones just like they do with the Temple Police phone number.”

In building a sustainable future, Connecting TU looks to tackle issues such as strengthening alumni relations, making SEPTA more accessible to students and strengthening the relationship between Temple students and the North Philadelphia community. Abramson said his team wants to work closely with the Good Neighbor Initiative to maintain a strong relationship.

“The relationship between Temple Student government at the Good Neighbor Initiative is key,” said Abramson, “I want to make sure that me and potentially another member of my administration is sitting on the Good Neighbor Committee and supporting their initiatives.”

Temple’s Walk to End Sexual Violence Rebrands

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Temple University’s annual walk to end sexual violence has changed names from Walk A Mile in Her Shoes to Walk TU. This change comes after members of the Temple community pushed for a more inclusive event.

Tom Johnson, Assistant Director of the Wellness Resource Center, said that the change in name allows more people to participate in the event. 

“[Walk A Mile] was a hit in the sense that our registration numbers went up every year over the five years we did it but every year we evaluate our events and Walk A Mile had evolved over the years and had become the kickoff for Sexual Assault Awareness Month here on campus,” Johnson said, “When you look at the event, only male-identified students could participate in it so there were populations who were left out in terms of the conversation and in participation.”

According to Johnson, Walk TU’s message remains the same as that of Walk A Mile regardless of the rebranding. 

“We’re not going to be handing out red heels to individuals but beyond that you’re still going to see, in force, several hundred Temple students walking on campus saying that they want to see an end to sexual violence,” Johnson said.

Many Temple students had a positive response to the change in name. Kirseten Vagle, a junior at Temple, said the rebranding of the event allows for the topic of sexual assault prevention to become more widespread.

“I think it really speaks to how we are talking about sexual violence in this country and how it affects everyone, not just mothers and daughters,” said Vagle, “It affects every single demographic no matter how you identify.”

Johnson hopes that Walk TU helps send a strong message about sexual assault prevention.

“We understand that interpersonal and sexual violence can impact any member of our community and we want to make sure that this event sends that message that we understand that any member of our community may be a survivor of interpersonal violence,” said Johnson, “We want to make sure that people understand that Temple is committed to trying to end sexual violence against all members of our community.”

February Heat Wave Hits Philadelphia

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Philadelphia has been experiencing some unprecedented high temperatures for the month of February this week, with highs in the mid sixties and low seventies. Temple students have been out on campus in full force in places like Beury Beach and Founder’s Garden.

The last time February was this warm was in 1874, when the high temperature was 75 degrees. This record could be broken on Thursday afternoon, as temperatures are expected to reach the mid-seventies.

Students have been enjoying lunch outside, studying on Beury Beach and playing sports on Geasey Field. They say Temple’s campus transforms into a happier place when the weather turns this warm.

Temple Update’s Hannah McComsey headed to the Bell Tower to get the scoop on how fellow Owls are spending their week in the warm weather.

Fall Break Schedule for Residence Halls and Campus Facilities

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fall-templeFall break at Temple University will begin on Monday, November 21st and extend through Sunday, November 27th and will have an impact on residence halls, dining halls and other campus facilities.

The residence halls on campus will close on Saturday, November 19th at 12:00 p.m. and reopen for students on Saturday, November 26th at 10:00 a.m. Students are expected to vacate the residence halls unless they have an approved housing extension from the university. Students who have approved housing extensions should be advised that the last meal period before break will be dinner on Friday, November 18th and the dining halls will reopen for brunch on Sunday, November 27th.

Paley Library will operate on a modified schedule from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. from Monday, November 21st to Wednesday, November 23rd. The library will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and reopen on modified hours on Friday, November 25th from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The library will operate under its normal weekday hours beginning Monday, November 28th.

The TECH Center will also be operating on a modified schedule beginning Sunday, November 20th from 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday November 21st and Tuesday November 22nd from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 23rd from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and will be closed from Thursday, November 24th to Saturday November 26th.

Classes will resume on Monday, November 28th.

Donate Life America Encourages Temple Students to Become Organ Donors

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A volunteer hangs tags on the library fence to represent students who are organ donors.
A volunteer hangs tags on the library fence to represent students who are organ donors.

Members of the organization Donate Life America were on Liacouras Walk this week raising awareness about the need for organ donations in the United States. Members of the Donate Life team wore their organization’s t-shirts and helped register students throughout the week. Temple students who signed up to be a first-time organ donor were given a green wristband to attach to the fence surrounding the library construction next to a sign that read, “Waiting for the new library is annoying, waiting for a new organ is a matter of life and death.”

Donate Life’s goal is to register 600 Temple students as organ donors by Friday, November 18th. To learn more about organ donation or to sign up to become an organ donor click here.

TSG Initiative Provides Shuttle Service for Students on Election Day

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Temple University is helping students get out to the polls by running a shuttle system from the student center. The shuttle is a part of an initiative to make student voting an easier process.

Temple Student Government President, Aron Cowen, commented about this responsibility; “this is something that has been done 4 years ago and its something we wanted to continue to do when we were looking for ways to increase student turnout for elections”.

Temple Update’s very own correspondent, Hannah McComsey, rode the shuttle with several students to see how well the system works. The shuttle was quick and efficient, but many students aren’t aware of the resource and are finding out about it through last-minute word-of-mouth.

Sophomore, Kalieyah Lahens, got a text from her friend the morning of election day and decided to try the shuttle instead of walking to her polling place. “I think it well it was a lot easier to get here because I didn’t really know where I was going.”

The Temple Shuttles run until about 4 pm. on election night constantly dropping students off at polling places within the area. The shuttles travel in a loop to ensure that all Temple students who are going out to cast their vote are able to get to and from their polling places.

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton Address Millennials

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bernie sandersSenator Bernie Sanders and Secretary Hillary Clinton spoke to millennial voters on the ‘Millennial For Hillary’ conference call Saturday afternoon.

Senator Sanders began his portion of the call by reinforcing the importance of participating in the democratic process and having a voice in the upcoming election because he believes that this election will not only impact the next four years but will also set the direction that the country is heading.

“Change never takes place from the top down,” said Senator Sanders. “Any important change in American history takes place from the bottom on up.”

Senator Sanders also spoke about the upcoming election and why Hillary Clinton’s views are, in his opinion, superior to those of her opponent, Donald J. Trump. He took time to discuss three key issues: overturning Citizens United, addressing climate change and working towards a more inclusive society.

“In our country, as all of you know, we have struggled for hundreds of years with racism, with sexism, and discrimination of all forms,” said Senator Sanders, “It is hard to believe in the year 2016 there is a candidate for a major political party, Mr. Trump, who has made the cornerstone of his campaign trying to divide us up and running a campaign based on bigotry. We do not need a president who will divide us up, we need a president who will bring us together and that is certainly what Secretary Clinton intends to do.”

Secretary Clinton began her portion of the call by thanking people who have been campaigning on her behalf. She said that she is grateful for the support she has received along the campaign trail from volunteers, especially young people who she said will ultimately end up decide the election on Tuesday.

“I am inspired by the young people in our country, you really are the most inclusive, progressive, entrepreneurial, generation ever and I think you’re changing the world one idea, one project, one cause at a time,” said Secretary Clinton, “It’s no surprise that more young people are registered to vote in this election than ever before.”

Secretary Clinton also talked about some of the things that she plans to do as president, including her initiative with Senator Sanders to make college more affordable for students in America. She also addressed the need for ‘tackling systemic racism’ in the criminal justice system by creating a system that sets young people up for future careers.

“He [Trump] really does want to discourage young people from coming out to vote,” Secretary Clinton said, “His campaign is totally open about it and we can’t let them succeed. We need a huge, huge turnout.”

Secretary Clinton concluded her time on the call talking about her vision of America and why she proposes a plan of hope and inclusiveness as opposed to Donald Trump’s vision of America that she called ‘divisive.’

“I am excited about this campaign and I am even more excited about what we can do when we win but I can’t do any of the things that I have laid out if we don’t win,” Secretary Clinton said, “Together, on November 8th, let’s prove once and for all that love trumps hate.”

Temple Professor Discusses College Debt on The Daily Show

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Professor Sarah Goldbrick-Rob with Trevor Noah.
Professor Sarah Goldbrick-Rob with Trevor Noah.

Sara Goldbrick-Rab, a Higher Education Policy and Sociology professor at Temple University, sat down with The Daily Show host Trevor Noah on Tuesday night to discuss her new book, Paying the Price.

Over the course of six years Goldbrick-Rab and her research team followed and interviewed over three-thousand young adults who were enrolled in public colleges and universities. The team wanted to uncover why so many college students continue to be in debt despite the governmental systems that provide financial aid to students.

“I wanted to understand at a time where college is more expensive than ever and frankly work doesn’t pay like it used to…how do students get though college and how do they make ends meet?” said Goldbrick-Rab.

Although the issue of college debt is widespread, after reading Paying the Price Noah said that he was most surprised by the lack of ability of students to access food during their college years. Goldbrick-Rab said that her research team found that out of the ten community colleges that they observed thirteen percent of community college students they spoke to were homeless.

“Studies are not supposed to break your heart, and this sort of did,” said Goldbrick-Rab.

Noah commended Paying the Price for not only identifying the issues that exist within the world of higher education but also providing solutions that can help the country help college students. When asked what she thought the most realistic solution to the college debt issue was, Goldbrick-Rab said that extending food programs would greatly help students.

“We know how to give people food so they can go to school, it’s called the National School Lunch Program and we have had it in place for a very long time for school children,” said Goldbrick-Rab, “What we need to do is expand the National School Lunch program into higher education.”

At the end of the interview, Noah took the opportunity to ask about the presidential election and which of the two candidates has a viable plan to help college students who are struggling with debt. Goldbrick-Rab said that Hillary Clinton recognizes that the country needs to do something totally new in the way that they handle college debt.

“Hillary Clinton recognizes that there is a ton of pain out there and isn’t limited to low income people,” said Goldbrick-Rab, “The middle class is also being priced out of higher education and the current financial aid system is not helping.”

If you happened to miss Goldbrick-Rab’s interview, check it out here for yourself.