Temple has never been known for its exciting nightlife or fast paced student activities. Living on campus could hardly be considered exhilarating, assuming the average student’s idea of “exhilarating” stretches beyond sitting at home on Friday and watching yet another Iron Chef marathon on the Food Network.
Last semester they took away the food court with its absurdly loud jukebox, the pool tables and our sorry excuse for a movie theatre. It wasn’t much, but sadly, it was the only place students had to congregate and kick back. This semester, they’ve taken away the last centralized place students have – the Crossroads Food Court.
It being the middle of the winter, eating outside is out of the question, leaving those searching for a warm place to snack or enjoy lunch to the basement of Tuttleman or The Owl’s Cove in Mitten Hall. Most students don’t even know where Mitten Hall is.
Commuter students may not understand the dilemma facing those who spend more than a few daylight hours here. Once the sun dies, so does Temple’s social pulse.
Not to say that University isn’t trying. They’ve offered us a mock movie theater set up in a Tuttleman classroom where students can pay a $1 to see “new to video” movies projected on a screen that had several hours earlier had been used to show a freshman chemistry class how molecules bond.
The closest nightlife is in Center City. That is to say, it is a car ride or a subway ride away. In terms of vehicular travel, the distance is insubstantial. But the truth is many students don’t have cars and there isn’t a decent restaurant, bar or club within walking distance.
While public transportation is viable method that many rely on, it isn’t the very conducive to student life especially on the weekends. The subways stop running before the clubs and bars close, forcing students to take the bus or leave early. It isn’t the fact that the bus smells or the fact that it is a haven for Philly’s own strange breed of overmedicated, under-stimulated night crawlers, but the fact that waiting for it on some dark street corner that makes it unappealing and dangerous.
Of course, they’ve been toying with the opening of The Draught Horse since November. The signs are up and it looks as if construction is reaching the final stages. And maybe when it eventually opens – if it opens – students will have at least one place to call their own.
There was a place like that once – a place that wasn’t staffed by University employees, where students could be just what they were: students. But like all good things, they took the Campus Grille away too. Since last fall it has stood as a vestige of a place where twenty-somethings could be themselves and not have to worry about finals and papers and getting mugged on the way home.
It isn’t just about the bars and the restaurants or the fact that the only thing within walking distance is a Rite-Aid and even that closes before the sun sets. It’s about lack of consideration on behalf of the University. It seems as if its concern for its students doesn’t stretch beyond academia and finance. Being a student is more than attending classes.
All work and no play made Jack a dull boy. Along the same lines, all work and no play made Temple students want to transfer to some place that at least have enough grass to play a rousing game of Frisbee.