Posted March 20, 2024

Getting to know the Temple Family Council

Part of Temple University’s Division of Student Affairs, the Temple Family Council serves as the liaison between the university’s administration and its parent and family community.

The Temple Family Council pictured.
Photography By: 
Contributed photo
Housed within the Office of New Student and Family Programs, the Temple Family Council (TFC) works to foster communication among Temple families, often serving as a liaison between the university administration and parents and families. Pictured are TFC members who attended Family Weekend last fall.

Ask any parent who has gone through it: Dropping your child off at college can be a jarring experience. While it is true that just about every parent wants to see their children spread their wings and fly, letting go is easier said than done. 

Research has also shown that parents can have a positive effect on their child’s college experience when they understand the student experience and are aware of the resources available on campus. They should text, call and send care packages but it is important to walk the fine line of being involved in the college experience without being a helicopter parent.  

That’s where the Temple Family Council (TFC) comes in. 

Established in 2017, TFC is a group of Temple University family members who volunteer their time and knowledge to enhance the Temple student and family experience by fostering communication between the university and families, promoting inclusive engagement opportunities, and amplifying family perspective. 

“This has been a way for me to get involved and to get engaged without directly hovering over him, but it allows me to be aware of what’s going on and what the university is offering,” said Amy Sweeney, KLN ’94, who has been a member of TFC since 2020 and serves on its communication committee. 

TFC is housed within Temple’s Office of New Student and Family Programs, which is part of the university’s Division of Student Affairs. The group works to foster communication among Temple families, often serving as a liaison between the university administration and parents and families. 

“In recent years in higher education, we have seen a shift in perspective acknowledging that family members are an integral part of student success,” said Deanne DeCrescenzo, associate dean of students at Temple. “Working with them as partners rather than excluding them from the experience has so many benefits for the students, the family members and the institution. Having a family council is a best practice in terms of family engagement programs, and we are thrilled that we have the resources to be able to support something like this.” 

“It allows parents to have that tether to the university that’s not just through their student,” added Brandy Jericho-Beach, parent and family programs coordinator. “This is a tie-in that they normally wouldn’t have without their involvement with the family council.” 

TFC is made up of two committees that parents and family members can join: communication and involvement. To be eligible to join TFC, a family member must meet the following criteria. 

  • Must be a family member of a current Temple undergraduate or graduate student who has at least two years of academic coursework remaining. 
  • Must be willing to serve on the council for at least two academic years. 
  • Commit to accomplishing two deliverables per academic year such as:  
    • volunteering at an event (either in-person or remote), 
    • writing an article for the Parent and Family Experience Portal,  
    • or other specified deliverables 

Along with Sweeney, one of the parents who has been most involved with TFC over the years is Ken Giunta, who, like Sweeney, joined the organization in 2020 and currently serves as the communication committee chair. 

As part of their role with TFC, Giunta, Sweeney and their colleagues often provide strategic input to the administration regarding topics and issues of importance to parents and families. That was probably never more evident than in recent years. 

“When I became a Temple parent, it was during the fall of 2020, and the country was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of that, crime in the City of Philadelphia and near and around campus was rising. As Temple parents, we experienced these challenges along with our students, but this also presented opportunities for TFC to partner with the University on solutions, such as having a seat at the table on Temple’s Violence Reduction Task Force and meeting with the Board of Trustees regarding the University’s presidential search,” Giunta said. “This increased visibility within the university has been extremely helpful with receiving timely and accurate communications. The more information that Temple can provide parents and families, the better off the university will be, and this equips TFC to respond to parent and family concerns, so we can be a more effective partner and advocate for the university.” 

Today, Giunta and Sweeney are two of many Temple parents who have a direct line to Temple’s Department of Public Safety and its vice president, Jennifer Griffin, who they connect with regularly. At least once a semester, Griffin also meets with the larger TFC group to update them regarding public safety initiatives.  

“It helps us, so that we can be informed, and then speak from an informed voice,” Sweeney said. “We can say, ‘OK, here’s what’s happening, and these are some of the recent initiatives that have been put into place,’ and that is so key." 

Drew Brennan is in his second semester as a member of TFC; he joined the organization in the fall, shortly after his daughter started at Temple. 

Brennan said he was not sure how his daughter would respond to his involvement but as it turns out, she has been excited and enjoys the additional opportunities to interact within the university environment. 

“We have the basketball game as a Temple Family Council event, and I told my daughter about it, and she was super excited. She said she would be going to the game to make sure she runs into me,” Brennan said. “I have been happy to advocate for the school because we all get to share our personal experiences as a council member and as a parent of a student. It gives us this sense of community that we continue to strengthen. So, you know, I’m happy to volunteer, and I’m happy to be at these events, and I’m happy to do my part.” 

Allison Borenstein, KLN ’91, who also joined TFC last fall and will be the chair of the communication committee moving forward, agreed. 

“Temple is a wonderful school. I am an alum, so I know that, but all of us on the council know that, too,” Borenstein said. “The Temple Family Council is really another way that we can work and help Temple thrive. Our children go here, so we all want to see Temple succeed, and by being involved, we can do our part to help the university and in turn, help our students’ university experience.” 

Parents or family members who are interested in joining TFC in fall 2024 can fill out this Temple Family Council Interest Form