Common sense. That’s what Temple Student Government’s Adopt-a-Block program boils down to.
The program, as reported by Laura Detter on Page 1, will assign organizations to different blocks that the groups will be required to clean at least once a month.
At the least, the program, if all goes as planned, will afford individual blocks a cleaner landscape. In a community so often defined by the debris that line it, that’s a feat in and of itself. But, in reality, it may polish something more: student-community relations.
Adopt-a-Block may instill in community residents a level of trust and respect for students if the organizations keep to their word, adequately communicate and spend time interacting with the North Philadelphia. With fewer resources and in a smaller fashion, Adopt-a-Block accomplishes what City Council President Darrell Clarke aimed to do with his North Central Neighborhood Improvement District — sans the taxes and power struggles.
Still, as Julie Furdella of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars acknowledged, Adopt-a-Block is far from a one-shot solution. Any progress by the effort can be derailed by a weekend of partying that trashes the street and disregards neighbors.
That’s why it’s equally as important for TSG to explore ways of pushing for the same work by the students who share stoops and sidewalks with longterm residents — in other words, the ones organizing the parties. Getting student-neighbors to chip in as much, if not more than the organizations, is imperative.
The longterm residents of North Philadelphia have a reason to take care of their streets. All students — regardless of organization affiliation — need to find one, too.