Temple University is a part of Philadelphia. Not the other way around.
That’s why Saturday’s inaugural FreshServe, a community service day designed to give students – particularly freshmen – the opportunity to learn the value of community service, was such an important event at Temple. Students, faculty, staff and administrators volunteered their time at several locations around Philadelphia.
FreshServe was intended to become Temple’s largest single day of community service, according to Assistant Dean of Students Katie D’Angelo. Whether or not that prediction became true remains to be seen, but one way to guarantee high attendance for future FreshServe events is to make the day mandatory for all freshmen who live on campus.
We’re not saying that Temple students don’t volunteer enough. Some students give their time as much as possible, which is evidenced by the fact that Temple volunteers provide more than 35,000 hours of service a year, according to the Welcome Week Web site. But there are plenty of students who never lift a finger outside of campus.
There is absolutely no reason why every incoming student can’t participate in at least one community service event during their first year at Temple. Why not make FreshServe that event? It would provide new students with a chance to visit and appreciate parts of Philadelphia that they may otherwise never get to see. On top of that, they will get to bond with fellow students and discover the importance – and the satisfaction – of giving back to the community.
Instead of holding the event once during the morning, why not offer students multiple times when they can participate? The first FreshServe was held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Asking students to get up early on a Saturday morning after many of them probably spent the prior night partying is probably a bad idea. Next time, they could offer a noon to 4 p.m. shift for late-risers. If a student misses FreshServe, make it a requirement that they do four hours of community service before the end of the semester.
As the university continues to expand, it is important for the student body to understand that the communities that surround our campus are full of outstanding citizens who deserve our respect and our support, when needed. FreshServe could help fill that purpose.