Transportation figures high among the issues TSG is facing. Students sound off about it.
At Sept. 28’s Temple Student Government State of the Campus address, President Kylie Patterson and Vice President of Student Services Jon DeSantis presented the assembly with new information and TSG’s goals for the new school year.
The new student administration faces the hot-button issue of university transportation services, since Temple discontinued its regular TUCC shuttle last month to keep tuition lower and Main Campus greener.
Following the announcement, DeSantis said TSG was working to provide discounted transportation via SEPTA for students with internships.
In regard to all the talks of transportation alternatives, students expressed a variety of views.
“The Center City shuttle should be reinstated because not only do many students go to [TUCC] for classes, [but] the city is the reason why many students, myself included, have chosen Temple,” junior Spanish major Dana Blechman said in an e-mail.
“It would be extremely convenient to have a free and easy mode of transport to Center City,” she added, “so students can spend [time] there regardless of whether or not they can afford to take SEPTA.”
In terms of a potential service for students with internships, Blechman said she doesn’t think transportation compensation should be limited.
“Temple students should either get free or discounted TransPasses, not just discounts on semester TransPasses,” she wrote.
Others were supportive of the transportation issue and of the TUCC shuttle bus cut, specifically.
“Personally, I never used the shuttle, but I think the subway is cheap enough so that if this cut truly helps in keeping tuition low, then I think it’s worth it,” sophomore music education major Alyssa Endrich said.
Other students seemed to be less concerned with transportation between Center City and Main Campus and more concerned with students who commute from outside the city each day.
“I think commuter students need to be considered because they have to come back and forth between campus and their homes,” Nadir Munir, a freshman accounting major, said.
TSG Senate President Jeff Dempsey said the decision-making committees are faced with complicated issues when tuition and transportation come into play because unless students on the committee are affected, the weight of an issue can often go unrealized.
“Transportation is not as simple as just running a bus,” Dempsey said. “It’s bad that the cut happened, but the good that came out of [the cut] is that people are paying more attention now.
“This could be a way for students to galvanize and allow TSG to flex its muscle.”
Dempsey said possible future alternatives could include talks between TSG and SEPTA to try to have student fares lowered in light of the situation. He said a discounted service program for students with internships is still in the works.
Student-service issues aside, Patterson said one of her biggest goals is to motivate students to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible and for them to go beyond the classroom in preparation for life after college.
“When I was a freshman and saw someone get their first internship, I was so impressed that I knew I wanted the same things,” Patterson said. “After I got my first internship, I realized that I want to give students the same agency I benefited from.”
Bryan Mann, a sophomore Jewish studies and political science major, said this is a great goal but said he realizes there are complications.
“It would be awesome [for all students to get involved], but sometimes things get in the way,” he said.
But Patterson said she still believes having the university’s students flood the job and scholarship markets is the best way to improve the value of their degrees.
“Gaining access to resources isn’t easy. It’s like trying to open an oyster,” she said. “It’s really difficult. Pushing yourself to apply for something is not easy, but it pays off.
“When you open an oyster it’s crazy work. You have to get a shucking glove and knife and sometimes, you cut yourself. But when you finally get it open, you have this ultimate sense of satisfaction,” she said.
“All cuts will heal,” Patterson added, “and opening that oyster, getting replies from jobs, internships and scholarships, will be very rewarding.”
Joshua Fernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.