On Monday night, Temple Student Government canceled its plans to host an Alternative Spring Break in the Church of the Advocate on Diamond Street near 18th. TSG canceled the program due to low enrollment — only four students and two student leaders had signed up as of Monday.
As part of the program, participating students would have stayed in the church from March 2 to 5, facilitated block clean-ups and worked in the Advocate Cafe, which serves free meals to neighborhood residents.
The program would have been facilitated by the Rev. Renee McKenzie, who hoped it would smooth the relationship between the university and the North Philadelphia community by making personal connections.
The Temple News is disappointed to hear that the program has been canceled. The Alternative Spring Break could have given students the chance to better understand the community where they live. On Main Campus, we talk a lot about the importance of giving back to our neighborhood, and this opportunity seemed particularly valuable. By staying in a North Philadelphia hub and interacting with residents on a daily basis, students could have engaged with the community beyond typical day-to-day interactions.
To Rev. McKenzie: we thank you for the opportunity to connect with North Philadelphia residents and better understand the community as a whole, and we are sorry more students weren’t interested. To students: we’re disappointed you didn’t take the opportunity to engage with your community.
As newer members of the North Philadelphia community, we ought to get to know long-term residents. It’s the neighborly thing to do.