There was a time when Temple’s finest wasn’t needed to direct traffic on 12th and 13th streets. But now, since Temple has admitted “the largest freshmen class in history” for six years in a row, according to the Department of News and Media Relations, their services are necessary.
This year is no exception. Admitting more freshmen and transfers means more revenue for the university. But on the downside, the school and its services are too overcrowded with overworked employees accommodating the needs of an increasing amount of students, faculty and staff.
Campus hotspots such as PNC Bank, Dunkin’ Donuts and Student Health Services have one thing in common. They are notorious for their lines. The line for PNC bank always goes down its stairs and occasionally into Liacouras Walk.
Students endure the blazing summer heat and the chills of winter as they impatiently wait for a chance to get some cash or make a deposit. During morning rush the line for Dunkin Donuts is almost out the door. Even food trucks, which many students used to use as an alternative to the high prices and long lines of Temple eateries, have lines just as long as their Temple counterparts. Meanwhile, students can always expect to wait for a couple hours in Student Health Services, which is detrimental to those in need of immediate care.
And then there’s 7-11, infamous for a line that snakes around the entire store on an hourly basis from early morning until late afternoon. Three years ago I could walk down Liacouras Walk and past the Bell Tower without bumping into anyone.
Now I weave my way through traffic, bumping into people as they stop to chat on their cell phone or reminisce with someone they haven’t seen in three semesters.
Decreasing the number of accepted applicants would alleviate many of the problems that come as a result of having too many students in too small a space.
The trend at many colleges and universities is to annually increase admission. But enrollment should directly reflect the size of the campus and the number of services. Maintaining the same enrollment levels for an extended period of time is not a disadvantage.
It can uphold the selectivity of the university, one of the administration’s goals, while ensuring that the quantity and quality of services better reflect the number of students.
Instead of focusing on curbing rising enrollment, Temple focuses on expanding into a community that already demonstrates hostility toward students because the university is slowly but surely invading and eliminating their neighborhood.
The campus continues to grow, but enrollment grows faster. There are 6,600 new students on campus this year, 3,900 freshmen and 2,700 transfers.
The combined freshmen and transfer student body is larger than the entire population of Ambler, making Temple a small town crammed into an even smaller city campus.
Most Temple students take classes at main campus, turning it into a riot scene during the 10 minutes between classes when students cross streets in packs, delaying impatient motorists who seem to forget they are driving within the bounds of a college campus.
Next year’s freshman class will probably be the largest in history yet again. But hopefully history won’t repeat itself and only a small percentage of their time at Temple will be spent waiting in lines.
Stephanie Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.