New grads have seen big changes at Temple
When Brandon Lausch applied to colleges four years ago, Temple seemed to provide exactly what he was looking for.
“I was intrigued that Temple offered a good program for my major and allowed me to be a world away from home, yet only about an hour away physically,” said Lausch, a senior from Lancaster, Pa., and former editor of The Temple News who graduates with a bachelor’s degree in journalism this May.
The Temple that appealed to Lausch in 2002 was a world away from rural Lancaster, with its Broad Street view of Philadelphia, heavy traffic and wide, busy sidewalks. Today, Temple’s distinctly urban feel remains, and is complemented by major changes that might be summed up in two simple words: numbers and options.
Temple’s enrollment grew by 17 percent between 2000 and 2005. And in just those few years, the population of students living on or around campus ballooned to more than 9,000, nearly double the number when Lausch was a freshman. Those numbers bring with them huge implications.
“As the campus has gotten more residential, there are more opportunities to meet and greet,” Lausch said, adding that he made lasting friendships while living on campus.
According to Theresa A. Powell, vice president for student affairs, the number of student organizations has increased.
“You want people to interact at such a large campus as this, and I think this provides a venue for that,” Powell said.
Student Affairs responded to the residential boom with a blitz of new programs, from Friday night Texas Hold ’em and bingo tournaments lasting until 2 a.m. in the Student Center, to more organized trips to Philadelphia events and restaurants, and nearby amusement parks and cities.
“I don’t remember seeing so many low-cost trips or reduced ticket prices when I started,” said Courtney Ignarri, a graduating senior from Upper Darby, Pa., who will receive her bachelor’s degree in psychology this week.
“The best part is that these encourage students to get off of campus into the city or to the surrounding area,” she added.
When spring came in 2002, so did the shops at Liacouras Walk. A 24-hour 7-Eleven and other shops — even an on-campus inn — joined the ever-popular lunch trucks and McDonald’s, as well as options at the new Student Center food court.
“The campus has become a lot more vibrant,” said student body president Oscar Chow, who graduates this week with a bachelor’s degree in political science. “There seems to be a renewed atmosphere of social activity and interaction.”
Even just over the past year, the 24-hour TECH Center and Starbucks have become a center for work, socializing and, for some, sleep, with up to 8,000 people going on weekdays during the semester. The second renovation of the Student Center returned a movie theater, the Reel, to campus, and added an entertainment center and dance club, the Underground.
Dave Weiss, who graduated in May 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, noticed that the renovations of the Student Center in 2001 and Liacouras Walk in 2002 changed the vibe on Main Campus.
“The old Student Center did not provide for many opportunities for students to meet,” he said. “The campus got brighter and livelier, especially with the addition of the 7-Eleven and the restaurants at Liacouras Walk.”
In fact, the entire campus seems to come alive at night these days, as many more students are seen socializing on campus at all hours, Powell said.
“There is always something to do,” she said. “You just have to take advantage of it.”
To be continued …
As soon as this fall, graduates coming back to visit friends or catch home basketball games will see more of the trend they helped set in motion. They’ll be able to shop and catch movies at Avenue North, the privately developed residential, commercial and entertainment complex at Cecil B. Moore and Broad. In another year or so, they’ll be able to cross the street to a renovated Progress Plaza, where a 24-hour Fresh Grocer will serve hungry students and the community.
All the while, that rumble of construction you hear could come from anywhere: Alter Hall or the new Tyler School of Art on Main Campus; the new Medical School building at the Health Sciences Center; or the Ambler Learning Center at Temple Ambler.
“I look forward to coming back to Temple and seeing what campus looks like in the future,” Ignarri said. “What’s happening here is exciting for students and for the people who live in the neighborhood.”
- Erica Fajge