On any given day, you might catch Alex Rosenberg with his dog hanging around the Bell Tower or waiting in line at The Wall.
Like many city dog owners, Rosenberg struggled to find a safe, green space for his Whippet mix, Kona, to run. So he created an initiative to bring a dog park to Main Campus.
“I have walked pretty much every block of the Temple residential community from Broad to Gratz Street to Master to Susquehanna, and there’s not a single place for you to let your dog run,” said Rosenberg, the junior class representative for Temple Student Government’s Parliament.
In an effort to convince the Temple administration that students on campus and local residents could benefit from a dog park, Rosenberg started an online petition on the Change.org this month. Within the first 24 hours the petition garnered more 300 signatures and currently has more than 700.
Rosenberg explained the closest dog park to campus is in Fairmount on Green Street near 18th, and it charges a $50 annual membership fee per dog. Rosenberg said many students, like himself, and community residents can’t afford to pay dog park fees.
Rosenberg is using his position in TSG to collaborate with Temple’s Grounds Union, Temple Legal Counsel and the Office of Risk Management to discuss the park’s logistics, like location, price and maintenance.
Rosenberg hopes the university will be open to a dog park on campus that’s also for the North Philadelphia community, not just students.
“We live in this community for four years but this community lives here a lifetime,” Rosenberg said. “This park can be a way to show the local residents that we are doing something not just for ourselves, but for you as well.”
Gosia Guziak, a sophomore human resource management major, said having a campus dog park would give her Jack Russell Terrier a place to safely run and socialize with other dogs. She added the dog park should be open to the community.
“It would be cool to come together, because people here are very separate from their neighbors,” Guziak said.
Dina Occhi, a sophomore social work major and fundraising member for Temple’s Diamond Dogs student organization said people could benefit from the park whether they owned dogs or not.
People who don’t own dogs on campus might not appreciate dogs “doing their business” on grassy areas, while others are afraid of dogs, so having a designated green space for them could make everyone more comfortable.
“It’ll be good for the dogs, obviously,” Occhi said. “And then it’ll be good for the owners because it gives them that sense of peace and a good state of mind that they can just let [the dogs] roam and do their own thing.”
Temple administration asked Rosenberg to get community organizations to co-sponsor the dog park to show their support. So far Rosenberg received an endorsement from The Fairmount Civic Association, he said.
“[The park] could benefit many, many students,” he said. “Dog owners, non-dog owners … it would make so many people so happy.”