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Initiatives look to foster pride

University projects aim to boost pride in urban campus.

In the beginning of the semester, Temple launched an advertising campaign seeking to define what it means to be “Temple Made.”

This campaign, created to promote Temple’s image and instill pride for the campus, faculty and programs, has come in the middle of a 12-year plan to re-envision Main Campus.

Four years ago, Temple was in the planning stages for what would become one of the largest campaigns to develop Main Campus in the university’s history. The 20/20 plan, which was officially launched in Spring 2009, was being developed through a collaboration with staff, students and the community.

Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Anthony Wagner said the execution of this plan has contributed greatly to campus pride.

Wagner explained that students’ requests and input were of the utmost importance when the 20/20 plan was in its developing stages.

“We put together a steering committee with representatives from the student government,” Wagner said. “We did focus groups and open forums, we had the planners and the architects there to talk. They asked for student input into what they thought of some of the projects should be.”

Wagner said community input was a vital part of this project and had to be equally intertwined with that of student opinion. Wagner added that the concerns of the community often mirrored that of the students.

Community concerns included fears of further campus expansion, unwanted off-campus student housing expansion and students parking in areas that were not intentionally for students. Students requested more housing opportunities on Main Campus, and parking opportunities for a reasonable price. Thus, projects such as Morgan Hall and the parking garage at 12th Street and Montgomery Avenue were developed.

Wagner said Temple’s borders would not be expanding.

“The 20/20 plan was going to be based on our current footprint,” he said.

Students also requested more green space and commercial areas, which resulted in projects such as the revamped Pearson and McGonigle halls and the potential replacement of Barton Hall with an outdoor area.

“Temple had primarily been a commuter school for a long time with less emphasis on a pedestrian campus, so adding more green space on campus was much needed,” Wagner said.

Wagner also said that a greater emphasis was placed on strengthening Temple’s involvement in the community in which it is located. This translated into the building up of the section of North Broad Street that runs through Main Campus.

“There really wasn’t much on Broad [Street] that was Temple,” Wagner said.

Community members believed that the build up of commercial development in that area would benefit both students and local residents, Wagner said.

“We could also improve the appearance and therefore show the appearance of Temple to those driving [down] Broad Street,” Wagner added.

This request inspired many changes to the face of North Broad Street, including commercial spaces in Avenue North, Morgan Hall and the renovation of Pearson and McGonigle halls.

Four years later, this transformation is still taking place but the attitude of students toward Main Campus’ new facelift is increasingly positive, Wagner said.

“People are excited to see the great projects,” Wagner said. “People are proud.”

This pride is evident in the results of the university’s new student questionnaire, a survey that all freshmen and transfer students are required to complete for purposes of monitoring “trends in student characteristics, attitudes, intentions, and aspirations,” according to Temple’s Measurement and Research Center website.

The questions asked involve the reasoning behind a student’s choice to attend the university. A select amount of questions monitor how the campus affected such decisions.

According to the results, Temple’s urban locale was of vital importance to this incoming class; 93 percent answered that it was important or somewhat important when choosing Temple. A total of 79 percent said a visit to Temple was an important or somewhat important factor.

Temple also administers an optional questionnaire for returning students, called the Temple University Student Questionnaire. According to Measurement and Research, the student questionnaire is administered with four main purposes in mind, “to obtain students’ perceptions of Temple’s academic, social, and administrative programs, to gather information about students’ participation in various university and non-university activities, to monitor change in students’ attitudes, activities, and needs over time, and to provide data for assessing factors related to students’ success.”

Similar to the questionnaire, the student survey also includes questions about the importance of Temple’s campus to current undergraduate students.

In the questionnaire, 83 percent of undergraduate students agreed that there were good professional resources and opportunities provided to them because of Temple’s urban locale. The results also showed that 78 percent of students surveyed would enroll in Temple again and 78 percent felt a sense of belonging at the university.

Margaret Drake, a sophomore risk management major, said Liacouras Walk is nothing short of beautiful, noting she is also emphatic about the green space on Main Campus and is excited for the potential of more.

“I think Temple, for having the rep that it has, its campus is very pretty and it’s a selling point for a lot of students that want to come here,” Drake said. “You almost feel as if you’re not in the city when you’re on campus, which is nice because North Philadelphia is not the most beautiful place.”

Jacklin Altman, a sophomore management information systems major, agreed with Drake’s opinions about Main Campus, however Temple’s commercial areas are where her enthusiasm lies.

“I like that we have shops and places to eat, its nice having somewhere to go all the time,” Altman said.

Altman, who lives in 1300 Residence Hall, near the construction of Morgan Hall, said that while the construction is irritating at times, she does appreciate the long term benefits of the 20/20 plan.

“I think it will definitely help campus out, more housing would be nice for incoming students,” she said.

Cassandra Wise, a senior business management major, said she appreciates that the construction includes the restoration of buildings as opposed to demolishing them.

“They’re not really knocking down a whole building, they’re restoring [buildings] from where [they were],” Wise said. “They’re modernizing.”

Wise said her love of Temple’s campus does not stem from its construction practices, but rather its city locale.

“I like that it’s a part of the city, it’s actually a part of North Philadelphia,” Wise said.

Wagner said he believes there has been an exponential amount of improvement in the years that he has been employed on campus.

“Tyler [School of Art] and Alter [Hall] have been finished and they are beautiful additions to the campus, and the little things like adding the Adirondack chairs [on Beury Beach] has really created a lot of buzz and that has been great to see,” Wagner said.

Temple’s 20/20 plan, Wagner said, has only just begun and more phases of the “Temple Made” campaign are still underway.

“There are big projects to come. I think that it will not only increase the students’ but everyone’s pride in Temple,” Wagner said.

Cindy Stansbury can be reached at cindy.stansbury@temple.edu.

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