In the absence of the tradition of Spring Fling, dual events were held both on and off Main Campus Saturday as the university-run Cherry On Experience was held and a non-Temple-affiliated block party drew hundreds of students to Park Avenue throughout the afternoon and evening.
At the block party, a stage was set up in the middle of the street with a DJ and live rap performances, as hundreds of students swarmed to the block. Philadelphia police monitored the student activity while a heavy cloud of marijuana hung in the air and students openly drank.
“It’s obviously just a thinly veiled excuse to day-drink all day but there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just people trying to have fun,” said Ed Braun, a Philadelphia resident.
At one point, the music was stopped and a student was asked to get off of a nearby roof by the DJ, citing concerns for their safety. Last year’s Spring Fling was marred by the death of a 19-year-old West Chester University student who fell off a roof during an off-campus party.
The university canceled the school-sponsored Spring Fling last year, citing excessive student drinking.
Reached by phone Monday, Acting Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said 46 arrests were made this weekend in connection to off-campus drinking, 31 of which were not Temple students.
The block party was put on by Temple students and Park Avenue residents James Pierce, a senior marketing major and Obi Onejeme, a junior management major.
“We wanted to do a showcase in absence of Spring Fling this year for Temple University,” Pierce said. “We elected to do a block party, which ended up becoming a festival, which we call Owl Fest.”
The two students gathered signatures from all of the residents on the block and raised money to put on the event, but wound up having to pay heavily out of pocket, they said.
Leone said CSS raised concerns about the party and the students were required to resubmit an application for a street festival. Students paid the 22nd precinct $1,800 for added police presence.
“It’s not about making money, it’s about seeing people have fun and having a good time,” Onejeme said. “They took away Spring Fling, so we wanted this type of event to be around for years to come.”
But not everyone was happy with the event. A woman who requested to remain anonymous and lives several houses off the block, expressed dismay over the ruckus caused by the event.
“This is a residential neighborhood, and when they get finished, you see those red cups, beer bottles, beer cans? You know who has to clean those up? We do, and it is not fair for us to have to clean up their mess.”
As she stood on her porch, she became visibly upset as a student threw up on the sidewalk next to her house and another laid down, seemingly semiconscious, on a ledge next door.
“I’m not against people having fun,” the woman said. “I’ve been here 60 years plus and this is about the worst. It’s not the fighting. It’s just the mess that they make, and I don’t think they should be allowed to do it.”
At the same time on the other side of Main Campus, Temple’s Cherry On Experience was held at the Geasey Field Complex. The school-sponsored event was free to students and featured music, water ice and activities including laser tag, do-it-yourself T-shirt tie-dye and Bumper Ball. Security was posted at the entrances to the event to monitor students drinking.
More than 700 people attended the event, Dean of Students Stephanie Ives said.
“I think it’s good they did this because people are going to have their own Spring Flings either way. So it’s good they got everyone out to do fun things instead of just drinking and having a block party somewhere else,” Jessica Kurczewski, a junior psychology major, said.
However, the event received mixed reactions from students.
“I wish it was a little better advertised because then there would be more people here, but I think it was a good idea for [Temple] to change [Spring Fling],” Casey Mcmenemy, a senior English major, said.
Andrew Thayer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.