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Future Temple Tour Guides Vie for a Red Polo February 2, 2012

Posted by Matt Wargo in Haphazard Happenings.
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The Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Temple University held its first night of ‘Meet the Owls’ sessions Wednesday night.

Nearly 100 candidates came to the initial group interview for a chance at their own red polo and an opportunity to be named one of Temple’s next Owl Ambassadors.

Each applicant introduced themselves to the group of future Owls and current tour guides, before teaming up for a short group skit focused around life as a student at Temple.

From here, selected candidates are invited back for a personal interview. The final step in the selection process allows applicants to show their skills at one of the university’s admitted student events.

A second ‘Meet the Owls’ session is scheduled for Friday night at the Welcome Center on Main Campus.


Forget the ‘Freshman 15,’ More Like ‘Freshman 3,’ Study Says November 3, 2011

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Roll it…The list of  high-calorie foods served up on college campuses everywhere that allegedly contribute to the infamous “Freshman 15.” From beer kegs to fast-food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, college students face a big hurdle when it comes to eating outside the comfort of their own home.

A new study shows that college students might not tip the scales as much as we used to think. The study, conducted by researchers at Ohio State University, says first year students expand their waistlines between 2.5 and 3.5 pounds, not the stereotypical 15 pounds. This gain amounts to a half pound more than young adults not enrolled in college, according to the study.

The study did find one group of students who gained more weight than just by eating fried wings and pizza: heavy drinkers. Even then, the weight gain amouted to less than one pound.

Researchers studied 7,418 participants from 1997 to 2011. The team investigated all aspects of college inlcuding: full-time and part-time students, living on or off campus, and years of study.

Temple Tour Guides Give Unique Insight Into Their Urban Nest March 29, 2011

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Once again, the Owl Ambassadors, Temple University’s flock of student tour guides, were featured in The Temple News for their role in the university’s recruitment efforts. This time, the story focused on giving readers a glimpse into the world of unknown, or forgotten, Temple trivia.

Yours truly was interviewed for the piece; I offered up some of the university’s most interesting details. Enjoy!


Sophomore Owl Ambassador David Lopez speaks with guests at Alumni Circle. Courtesy of The Temple News.

Tours at Temple provide opportunities for Owl Ambassadors.

Seeing students wearing cherry windbreakers while walking backward through Temple, followed by a group of weary-eyed high school students and parents is a familiar scene on Main Campus.

Tours and tour guides may seem ubiquitous on Main Campus, but the information that can be gleaned from a tour is anything but banal. It is information many students have forgotten since their own tour or never learned in the first place.

Alyssa Gunderman, a junior music therapy and voice major, has been a tour guide for a year and a half, and was shocked at the knowledge she gained about Temple during her tour guide training.

“There is so much stuff that when you are re-learning the facts you are like, ‘No way,’” Gunderman said. “But now it’s engrained.”

All tours include a standard set of facts: the Bell Tower chimes every 15 minutes, there are 3 million books in the Samuel L. Paley Library and the campus is 90 percent wireless with the exclusion of the residence halls. But each tour guide likes to toss a few original facts into their script.

“The business school has these flags hanging in the atrium, and they represent the member nations of the United Nations, but the really fun fact is that they were actually all hand painted by Disney artists,” said Matt Wargo, a junior broadcast journalism major. “This is my favorite fact I give on tours.”

Wargo started giving tours in the spring semester of his freshman year and said he continues to learn new facts about Temple.

“I didn’t know until recently that the library spends about $10 million a year to compile all the research databases,” Wargo said.

Gunderman pointed to Temple’s personal movie theater, the Reel, as one of Main Campus’ hidden gems.

“I don’t know if a lot of people know about that and the general area of the Student Center,” Gunderman said “It’s not just a dining hall.”

Tours of Main Campus are a great source of information about Temple’s campus. However, one fact that is mentioned has caused students some confusion.

As tour groups pass the Graphics Media Center across from the bookstore, it is mentioned that life-sized cardboard cut outs of any picture can be made at this location.

But the Graphics Media Center employees explained this is not true. GMC employees laughed as they recalled that several students have come in and inquired about the life-size photo options they learned about on tours and, unfortunately, must be turned away. The largest option available at the GMC is a 30-foot by 40-foot sheet, which is typically used for promotional signs displayed in the Student Center Atrium.

Sometimes, questions asked on tours lead to comical situations. Wargo mentioned that things get “really funny inside the residence halls.” He explained students frequently inquire about having guests stay for the weekend.

“They say it with the tone that you know it’s a girlfriend or a boyfriend,” Wargo said. “And the parents kind of turn red.”

Although questions can sometimes cause embarrassment, Wargo encourages prospective students to ask them.

“A lot of people are nervous to ask questions,” Wargo said. “It’s a really simple question, most times.”

Kieran Ferris said he felt that most of his questions were answered on his tour. Ferris, a prospective student hoping to study jazz music and music composition, expressed his amazement with the amount of choices at the cereal bar in the Johnson & Hardwick cafeteria. When asked about the most impressive place seen on the tour, his immediate answer was the TECH Center.

“When [prospective students] see how many computers we have, they’re like ‘Whoa, this is awesome,’” Gunderman said. “The TECH Center certainly does emanate a certain impressive quality to visiting students, but some of its resources remain a mystery to Temple students.”

“I think something they don’t know is the amount of programs that we have,” Wargo said. “There are about 125 software programs. As a student, I typically log in to Microsoft Office, and that’s about it. But there is so much more that you can take advantage of there.”

Laura Gabel, a freshman advertising major, had never noticed the digital screen in the TECH Center that indicates open computers with little green dots.

“Now that I have seen the screen at the TECH Center, I’ll probably look to it during busy periods to find a computer,” Gabel said. “It’s a really great feature to have.”

Meghan Daly is a retired Owl ambassador, who now works in Boston as a media specialist at a public relations firm. Her most memorable tour came when she showed a 1957 alumni group the new campus. “It was absolutely amazing to hear how different the campus was then, compared to its size now,” Daly said. “The members of the tour could hardly believe their eyes when they saw the TECH Center.”

Daly attributed some of her success to her training as a tour guide.

“I was a tour guide throughout my four years at Temple, and my experience definitely strengthened my speaking and communication skills,” Daly said. “My speaking to a crowd on tours and answering random questions, that experience definitely contributed to my success in public relations.”

Published in the March 29, 2011 issue of The Temple News. Credit: Haley Kmetz

College Crowd Goes for Self-Esteem Over Sex and Pizza, Survey Says January 17, 2011

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What exactly does a college student want? A boost to their libido or a desire to feed those hunger growls? Surprisingly, neither.

A new study shows when it comes to sex, pizza, or self-esteem, college kids just want a lift in their self-esteem department.

The results led researchers and skeptics to question if the “me-generation” is so self-absorbed that all they desire is a positive note attached to their coursework or a friendly smirk from a colleague across the classroom.

The results, published in The Journal of Personality, described two separate studies, according to The New York Times.

In one study, 130 students at the University of Michigan were asked to think about their favorite food, their favorite sexual activity and their favorite self-esteem-boosting experience. Participants were asked both about how much they “liked” the activity and how much they “wanted” it on a scale of 1-5.

Results showed that students “liking” and “wanting” a particular area was lowest for self-esteem.

The second study surveyed 152 students enrolled at the University of Michigan. This time, students were asked about their favorite activity, but with an expanded list in mind. The list included: receiving a paycheck, seeing a best friend, drinking alcohol, eating a favorite food, engaging in a sexual activity, and having a boost to their self-esteem.

The result was the same; students wanted a pick-me-up and a bump to their self-pride over all else.

So, what do you think? Weigh-in on this post through the comments section below.

Matthews Plays ‘Hardball’ with Gov. Rendell, Joe Sestak at Temple University October 21, 2010

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MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews" goes live from Alumni Circle at Temple University Thursday evening.

Temple University played hardball Thursday evening when MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” stopped by main campus as part of their college tour. Hundreds of students and spectators gathered around Alumni Circle for the broadcast.

Democratic candidate and Congressman Joe Sestak appeared on the show to talk about social issues impacting Pennsylvanians. Governor Ed Rendell, Congressman Bob Brady, and political commentator Michael Smerconish also made appearances on the program.

Chris Matthews moderates an interview with Michael Smerconish and Congressman Bob Brady on the "Hardball College Tour."

Matthews brought the “Hardball College Tour” to Temple two weeks shy of Pennsylvania’s mid-term elections.

This week, the higher education tour stopped at three universities in Kentucky, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, states where races are toss-ups for a stake at a U.S. Senate seat.