Students should be mindful of Temple’s effects on North Philadelphia.
According to recently released 2010 census data, the area directly west of Main Campus has experienced a significant change in racial makeup, as both census tracts show an increase in the percentage of people who identified as races other than black and Native American since the year 2000, when blacks were the majority group.
As Angelo Fichera reports in “Census data reveals significant change in racial makeup,” Page 3, the common speculation concerning the change in racial makeup is that more Temple students are moving into the area. As students become more entrenched in the neighborhood surrounding Main Campus, they must remember that before it was the place to look for student housing, the area between Jefferson Street and Susquehanna Avenue was a community, and it still is.
The percent of people who identified themselves as black in tract 147, which runs from Jefferson Street to Montgomery Avenue, and tract 153, which runs from Montgomery Avenue to Susquehanna Avenue, saw a decrease while the percent of people who identified themselves as white saw an increase. There were also increases in the number of people who identified as Asian, multiracial and Hispanic.
In November 2010, President Ann Weaver Hart, Dean of Students Stephanie Ives and Temple Student Government endorsed the idea of a “Good Neighbor” policy and encouraged students to be aware of their surroundings and treat the surrounding community with respect. The Temple News has encouraged students to remember that the community they live in is not only a student community and that residential areas shouldn’t be treated as such.
Students should not take this responsibility lightly and should appreciate the opportunity to live in and get to know this history-rich community.
As Temple transforms and continues to change and affect the surrounding neighborhoods, students need to be aware of the impact they have and the responsibility they have to the community.