Vendors around Main Campus are being watched closely by university officials after one table was reprimanded for setting up a beer pong table.
The food delivery service goPuff had a tent set up near the Bell Tower during the first week of classes when Student Center Director Jason Levy, who also manages campus grounds, intervened.
“We don’t allow folks to market firearms, tobacco or alcohol,” said Levy. “Whenever there’s a vendor coming to campus they all know that going in.”
Levy said he asked them to take the table down, and he watched as they did.
“They said it was just water, but it’s a beer pong table,” Levy said. “It says it’s a beer pong table, people knew it was a beer pong table.”
Director of Marketing at goPuff Jacob Levin said the real intent of setting up the table was showing off the artwork painted on it.
“It was custom-painted by a Temple student,” Levin said. “We thought it would be cool to have. We took it down as soon as we realized there was an issue.”
Levy said it’s rare that an organization is kicked out, but, when it happens, it tends to be for quality-of-life infractions.
“They’re usually random things and we haven’t done it in a while, but there was one group and they would bring a stereo system,” Levy said. “We have a very rigid amplified sound policy for around campus. After a third time, we asked them not to come back.”
When the weather is nice, Levy said there are many types of organizations that want to get on campus.
“People want to be here,” he said. “They’re paying to be here, and they want to be able to interact with the students and community.”
Levin said direct marketing is a key part of their strategies.
“Everyone’s immune to billboards and other types of advertising at this point,” Levin said. “Our key demographic is 18- to 24-year-olds. If you want to really reach college students, you have to talk to them one by one and be personable.”
Levy said the marketing appeal that campus has does not come without its pitfalls.
“The biggest problem we have is with those people with the clipboards asking for your opinion and to talk to them,” he said.
Levy added they are not permitted on campus because most of them do not register with the university. Since Temple is a state-related university and not public, the property is still considered private.
“If we see them, we ask them to leave. They’re less well-regarded by students because they’re kind of annoying, kind of obnoxious,” he said.
Levy added they can also just move to a public sidewalk where the university cannot intervene.
Organizations that do rent space out on campus do not generate much revenue for the university, Levy said.
“[GoPuff] was somewhere around 150 bucks a day,” Levy said. “Those vendors that sell jewelry or jeans or sports memorabilia in the atrium in the Student Center—those tables are about $70-90 a day based on the type of organization.”
There are separate tiers for for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Student organizations just pay a table delivery fee if the location is not in the Student Center, Levy said.
“We just want people to follow the process we’ve put in place,” Levy said. “We want there to be a free flow of information and we want people to have that discourse, but it really is important to us that folks help us manage the process with us.”
Rob Dirienzo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @robdirienzo.