Air Strike Hits Close to Home for Syrian Temple Student

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The recent air strikes and deadly chemical attacks in Syria have done more than shake the country, it’s directly impacted the life of Temple student Maryam Hallaj. Born in California and raised in Arizona, Hallaj and her family decided to relocate to Syria in 2006 in order to learn about their family’s culture.

The eleven-year-old at the time had no idea how much the move would impact her life, “moving isn’t easy to begin with. But cultural change is really hard. Especially when you don’t know a language and you’re just thrown into it,” she said. It took Hallaj roughly three years to learn the language and adapt to the culture in her new hometown of Aleppo. Just when she thought her life had settled, the war zone in Syria started developing.
“I fell in love with the city a little bit. It took me a long time, but I grew up there. And I did leave a piece of my heart there and I have family there, I care about people there. And to know that that’s all gone because of power fights is difficult for me,” Hallaj said.

Her family made the tough decision to move back to Pennsylvania in 2012, just as schools began to shut down and gun fire broke outside of their home. Hallaj describes living with the guilt of knowing that she is safe while others who couldn’t escape Syria are simply trying to survive. She also said that it’s sometimes hard for her to put herself in the shoes of others because what they are experiencing is so horrible.

“I can’t even grasp what it’s like for these people to live in camps or to be afraid to step outside their home. For an adult to manage that it’s hard enough, but for someone who is still very young to grow up that fast which such horrible traumatic experiences, it’s awful! There’s no way to really describe it. And to take away an education that is really valuable, it sets the country back a lot,” Hallaj said.

Once the family moved back to the United States, they went through some hardships getting back on their feet. The moved around from their father’s company garage and even slept on friend’s couches before becoming established again.

Hallaj is one of five Philadelphians to be granted the GSK Opportunity Scholarship, which allows her to attend Temple University. She plans to graduate in May 2017 and become an architectural designer in Philadelphia

Owls Join Eagles for 8th Annual Huddle Up for Autism Event

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The Temple Owls joined the Philadelphia Eagles and the Center for Autism Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for the 8th Annual Huddle up for Autism Event. Held at Lincoln Financial Field, the event raised money and provided a day of fun for families affected by autism.

Blow up bouncy houses and obstacle courses sprinkled the field. The Temple Football team was also their helping with games and setting up drills for the children. They stood next to mats and cheered as each child made a touchdown. Their faces lit up as the football team threw passes to them and gave out high fives.

Chris Myarick, a junior on the football team, was amazed at the event’s turn out. “It’s really rewarding for us just seeing their face, how happy they are. They don’t care that it’s cold out here, they’re just having a blast,” he said.

Off the field, games and other carnival like activities took place. Connect four, remote control cars, and virtual reality activities kept children and their families occupied. There was also an educational element to the day. Teaching people about the latest technology and advances in autism.

Off the field, fans were allowed to meet with Eagles players and cheerleaders. Meet and greet stations were set up for families to take pictures and get autographs from players like, Marcus Smith and Vinny Curry.

Although it wasn’t required, some families who attended the event fundraised beforehand. Ten-year-old, Luke Gross, who is on the autism spectrum raised $1,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Autism spectrum disorder is considered one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the United States. It affects one in every 68 children and is five times greater in boys.

Students Plan for Spring Break 2017

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Temple Owls are preparing to fly away from campus, headed toward various spring break destinations. In just a few days, campus will be shutting down and many students say they are ready for some time off.

“Light at the end of the tunnel, sense of relief that we’re almost there,” said freshman Melanie Snier.

Students like Katlyn Buchy are ready to be relieved of the pressure from classes and exams, and take a break from those long study sessions at the TECH Center.

“I’m gonna fly out to San Francisco on Sunday to see my family,” said freshman Kilian Laverty.

While some Owls are going as far as the west coast to visit family, others are staying on the east coast to head to cities like Miami for HBCU week and Virginia Beach for cheerleading competitions.

According to USA today, airlines are expecting record high numbers of spring break travelers from March to April. TSA is bracing for this travel surge, especially in Orlando, Fort Myers, and Fort Lauderdale airports.

Some of our Temple Owls will be staying here in Philadelphia to spend time with family, get school work done, and even work so they can have extra money to use throughout the semester.

Whether these students are working or jetting off to a city with warmer weather, they are all excited to get away from classes, books, and exams. Spring break will give these Owls some time to regroup and prepare for a strong finish for the rest of the semester.

Temple Art Student on the Rise

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Dyymond Whipper-Young is a junior advertising major at Temple University who is inspiring and helping others in the community through her art. Whipper-Young is stepping outside of the classroom and showing others just how important art is to Philadelphia.

Originally from Baltimore, this young artist transformed her elementary school doodles into her own business with the strong support of her friends.

“They play such major roles in my development and my growth. And they’re always just pushing me that extra mile”, says Whipper-Young.

Temple has served as a huge platform, allowing Dyymond to showcase her sculptures and paintings. This February the freelance artist headlined her first show in the city of brotherly love, with the theme revolving around the love and support of her friends.

“She’s like really unique being that she’s twenty and she’s growing at a young age. I’m excited for the future of her”, says Leonard Chester.

Whipper-Young’s future involves inspiring and motivating other artists by giving them opportunities to showcase their work.

Dyymond Whipper-Young can be contacted through her various social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.

Tina Fey Accepts Lew Klein Award, Meets with SMC Students

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Last Friday, Temple University presented Tina Fey with the Lew Klein Excellence in the Media Award. The Emmy award winning actor and comedian talked with students before meeting in Mitten Hall for a luncheon and official ceremony.

Although she didn’t go to Temple, she was born and raised in Philadelphia and credits the city for her unique, dry, and sarcastic humor. Tina Fey’s brother, Peter, and father, Donald, are graduates of Temple University. Her and her brother have since created a scholarship in their father’s name since his passing last year.

It wasn’t just her being honored on Friday, several other alumni were recognized for their amazing accomplishments post graduation. Other nominees included Temple Update alumna Laurie Seidman (SMC ’98), director Michael Grossman (SMC ’81), Solomon Jones (SMC ’97), Rich Lerner (SMC ’83), Rich Levy (SMC ’79), and Rising Star Honoree Chanteé Lans (SMC ’06).


Clinton Elected Nominee at DNC

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Tonight was the night a woman was officially named the presidential nominee of a major party.

For delegates like Maya Rockeymoore, tonight is the moment she has been waiting for. History is being made again in Philadelphia, and Rockeymoore is just one of thousands who will stand witness. “She will have broken the glass ceiling and it’s amazing,” she said of the upcoming delegate vote.

Other delegates agreed that this election has been historic, whether Secretary Clinton wins or loses in the general election. “Our children from here on are going to have a brighter future because they can also become president one day. And gender won’t be an issue,” said Florida delegate Elena McCullough.

Even Scottie Nell-Hughes who appears on national television as a Donald Trump surrogate, realizes the historical significance of tonight.

“A woman can achieve any dream she puts herself to be, whether it’s an astronaut or the president, those sorts of boundaries don’t necessarily exist as they might have 30 years ago.”


Clinton Rallies at Phila. City Hall

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Chants of Hillary Clinton’s name filled Dilworth Park Monday night in a last minute effort to clinch votes in the City of Brotherly Love.

Hundreds waited for hours to see the former Secretary of State, who took the stage around 7:45 pm. Her speech came just hours before the polls opened Tuesday for the Pennsylvania Primary Election.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney introduced Secretary Clinton to the crowd, and pledged that Tuesday he would “jump out of bed, run across the street to [my] polling place, and vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton!”

But what drew the most applause of the evening was a performance of the National Anthem by the Brown – Alexander sisters to welcome Mrs. Clinton to Philadelphia.

Ariana Maier, a supporter of Clinton’s campaign, told Temple Update’s Kylie Winkler that the Former Secretary of State’s stance on women’s rights is what was most important to her as a voter. Bobby Papachristoa, however said Hillary’s stance on immigration reform and minimum wage is what draws him most to the former secretary of state.


Temple Joins in on Relay for Life

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The 2016 Temple University Relay For Life included participants who fundraised over $40,000 in memory or honor of someone in life who has battled cancer.  Nearly 600 students and cancer survivors, including Hooter, came out to Temple’s over night Relay for Life event that raises money for cancer research.

The event includes a “Survivors Lap”, where all cancer survivors at the event take the first lap around the track while all other participants cheering on their victory.  In addition, a Luminaria Ceremony takes place after dark to remember people who lost the battle to cancer, honor all those who fought it in the past, and support those who continue to fight for life. Participants light candles inside of personalized bags and place them around the track as glowing tributes to those who’ve been affected by cancer.

The American Cancer Society sponsor’s the annual event to work towards progress to a cancer free world.  Contributions made to the Relay for Life benefit research, Hope Lodge, Road to Recovery, Look Good…Feel Better, and Reach to Recovery.

The Relay started in the spring of 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Washington.  He ended up raising over $27,000 to help the American Cancer Society.  Since then the Relay For Life movement has grown into a huge annual event, and has raised almost $5 billion to fight cancer through research and support.

One woman recounts how “This is such a wonderful thing to do for people like me who you know, go on with life and try not to think too much about it, but this is a time to focus cause it was a big deal.”

5th Annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

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Three hundred and forty men came out to the 5th annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event hosted by the Wellness Resource Center this Wednesday. The traded in their sneakers, in exchange for some high heels and strutted their stuff around campus.

The event raised awareness for women’s sexual assault and violence. Those walking started and ended their route in Founder’s Garden on Temple University’s campus. Female students, athletes and even Coach Fran Dunphy stood on stage and sharing stories and explaining why raising awareness for this cause is so important.

Tee shirts on close pins decorated the Garden, each representing and honoring someone affected by sexual assault.

Other students stood on street corners with signs, cheering on the men walking in heels. Supporters on campus included Temple’s own, Matt Rhule. He spoke about the importance of protecting those around you.

“It’s important to stand up as a man and show people what a man is. A man is somebody that protects the people that he loves, protects the people that he knows, and also protects the people that he doesn’t know. And, I think, part of being here at Temple is making sure that everybody on the campus has a tremendous experience,” Rhule said.

Experience Temple Day Welcomes Prospective Students

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The future class of 2020 was welcomed to Temple University this past Saturday in the first of four Experience Temple Days of the year. Admitted students were shown the many different things the university has to offer them in several tours and presentations throughout the day.

Admitted students and their families were welcomed to the university to further explore their academic interests and get a better understanding of what to expect

during their college career. Admissions officials say Temple’s rising reputation is attracting more students than ever before.

The class of 2020 is breaking records, with over 34,000 applicants; this is the most talented group in Temple’s history. Of the 34,000 applicants, 16,000 will be admitted and the university will end up with a class of roughly 4,900 students. Students that were already accepted felt confident of their choice and look forward to the many things it has to offer.

“It’s in the city and it’s urban. And also their award winning programs because I’m going into the Fox School of Business,” incoming freshman, Abby Bedesem said.

Three more Experience Temple Days will take place throughout the semester.