When I think back to my winter break, my mind immediately rushes to all the miserable treks made from my apartment to the subway and back again. This may sound horribly depressing; in fact, I’m sure it does. But the reason is sheer probability. When you spend as much time doing that as I did, the odds that the memory which pops in your head will involve being bundled up and making that uncomfortable walk are terribly inflated.
Naturally, some of those walks are more memorable than others. Most of the 5 a.m. ones are blurs of crusty eyes and Monster energy drinks. But I can distinctly remember what I thought the first time I stepped off the Northbound train and saw all the new – at the time at least – Temple Made posters.
“Broad Street Line. Bundled up. Headphones in. Making it happen.”
I like to write words. I do it very often, in fact. And I don’t think you could possibly give me enough hours or energy drinks to compose the essence of how I feel about my Temple experience in a better way. They’re just perfect, both on an isolated level and as a whole.
“Broad Street Line.” This is known in the literary world as “scene setting.” Can you picture it? If not, look around you, because you’re there. That’s how well this slogan knows you.
“Bundled up.” All right this poster is two-for-two. We’re starting to get creepy.
“Headphones in.” And it’s pulled off the hat trick.
“Making it happen.” What’s important here is the present tense. What you’ve made happen is irrelevant. What you will make happen is equally pointless. What matters is the here and now. At the last second, it got profound. That’s how I knew this was a classic.
Put it together and you have sweet word magic. It takes you on a transcendant voyage and delivers you back safely at the top of the stairs.
The reason my slogan love sticks in my hippocampus so vigorously is because I wasn’t a fan of the whole Temple Made thing before this latest phase of the campaign. All of those “Self Made. Philly Made. Temple Made” shirts seemed to me as a badge of honor for suburbanites or – even worse – people from out of state like myself to pretend they were really dialed in to the city culture. Why weren’t my neighbors, Philly residents their whole lives, donning shirts emblazoned with their home town? What made Temple students more worthy of that designation than someone from Drexel or Penn?
These questions were only emboldened by the marketing prominence of the football team and the Big East move in the whole thing. Athletics will likely always be tied to universities, but pushing that aspect to the forefront over the successes of Temple academics seemed to me to be a betrayal of prioritization.
Many of these concerns are still alive and well. Every time I walk by the Avenue North Shops and see that giant screen promoting the men’s basketball team, I question if the cool action pose is worth that space not being reserved for a future doctor or lawyer.
I question the financial wisdom of advertising so heavily in front of a bunch of people who are already sending in their tuition checks.
I question why all of these signs need to say something that might also be a Drake lyric.
Despite the best pestering of my overactive internal monologue, I still come away from each casual glance thinking that they really hit the proverbial nail squarely on its proverbial head.
“Making it happen.” That’s how I feel every time I come back from an early morning shift working part time in Center City to go right to class, nary a lunch break in sight. That’s what I’m thinking, somewhere in my mind at least, when I’m on my way to a night class at TUCC. That’s the only way I think adequately describes those few brief respites in my life when I can manage to go get a cheesesteak.
With that in mind, I’ve come to a wary conclusion that yes, I might just be Temple Made.
Zack Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ZackScott11.