Opinion

Skywalk proposal signals exclusivity

The Fox School of Business should work to maintain inclusivity in expansion plans.

As an actuarial science and management information systems major in the Fox School of Business, most of my time on Main Campus is spent inside one building: Alter Hall.

On rare occasions, I venture to Gladfelter Hall for my Spanish class, which my advisers highly discouraged me from taking in the first place. I was told that Spanish would not be necessary for my studies, and I should instead consider taking electives recommended by my majors — all within Fox.

The business school has a strong identity, which can sometimes feel isolating. In my three years at Fox, I’ve found that business students tend to keep to themselves — even most of our extracurricular activities are nestled within our homestead at the corner of 13th Street and Montgomery Avenue.

And recently, the school proposed an architectural expansion plan that threatened to further isolate Fox from the rest of the university.

As part of the plan, school officials proposed the creation of a skywalk that would connect Alter Hall to the neighboring townhouses at 1810 Liacouras Walk, which will become a part of the business school next fall.

Luckily, Philadelphia’s Architectural Committee voted against the proposed skywalk 4 to 1, citing concern for the historical integrity if the townhouses.

School officials should respect this decision, abandoning any hope for a skywalk. And when making future expansion plans, Fox should remain inclusive and welcoming of all students.

“Of all the elements, I agree that the bridge is the most problematic,” Dan McCoubrey, a member of Philadelphia’s Architectural Committee, told PlanPhilly. He also said the skywalk would not be conducive to “mingling and community building.”

A willingness to spend money just so Fox students don’t have to walk outside and potentially mingle with students from other schools seems elitist, even if this isn’t the intention.

“I think the skywalk would add flair to the campus, but it would isolate Fox students more,” said Douglas Meloche, a senior accounting and finance major. “I don’t really see the point of it. It’s not a building that other people go to often. Aesthetically, it would look really good, but I don’t see the practicality of it.”

“Only Fox students would be using it,” said Alyssa O’Dea, a sophomore environmental studies and Spanish major. “You would know it would just be Fox students walking.”

Students should not be encouraged to remain sheltered together within their respective fields and spaces.

While creating a tight-knit community can foster comfort and familiarity among students, it cannot come at the cost of being exclusive. A welcoming attitude is essential among all schools and colleges at the university to better align with Temple’s mission of maintaining diversity.

“When it comes to majors and schools sticking in one place, I think that exclusivity does tend to damage the culture of Temple as a university,” said Nick Blom, a senior media studies and production major. “The whole greatness of a university is that you’re meeting different kinds of people and different minds.”

In building up Main Campus, school officials need to avoid creating physical barriers that could isolate students from interacting and learning from each other.

Moving forward, I hope school officials keep Temple’s mission in mind as the university continues to expand. I hope students feel at home in their school or college, but also on Main Campus as a whole.

Alisa Sarasarn Islam can be reached at alisa.sarasarn@temple.edu.

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