Any student who walks through campus during the morning or afternoon is familiar with the crossing guard shouting, “Watch the cars! Watch the cars.”
And any student who regularly eats lunch in the Student Center food court knows to expect long lines at certain times of the day.
These are just a few instances in which Temple students interact with staff on a daily basis, but based on some students’ personal experiences, the relations are not always pleasant.
Lori Blake, a sophomore sports and recreation management major, said that she has seen these kinds of instances firsthand.
Blake said she stopped at the intersection of 13th Street and Montgomery Avenue when she heard the crossing guard blow the whistle. She said her natural reaction was to stop to allow the oncoming traffic to pass through. However, the guard was directing traffic going in the opposite direction, and Blake was blocking foot traffic.
“He called me an idiot for stopping at the wrong time,” Blake said. “When I tried to explain myself, he threatened to arrest me. He made a comment about me wearing my headphones.”
At times when classes just let out, two key intersections on campus – 12th and Berks streets and 13th Street and Montgomery Avenue – become extremely crowded with both people and cars. Campus Police, who act as the crossing guards, are prepared to blow their whistle at any given moment to attempt to make the process a little easier
But some students said they think that having the guards direct traffic add to the problems.
“I think they’re unnecessary,” said sophomore education major Debra DiPrima. “If you’re going to get hit, you’re going to get hit.”
Donna Crowell, a senior criminal justice major, agreed.
“They’re babysitting a bunch of college students, helping them cross the street,” she said. “Sometimes, they’re more mean to the cars than the people.”
Captain Eileen Bradley said that she has
never heard of any complaints from students
about the crossing guards.
“There have been no incidents with the
crossing guards,” Bradley said. “The students never have anything to say about them.”
Blake never reported the police officer to the department, but she said if it happens again, she will.
“I have nothing against crossing guards,” Blake said, “just that particular one.”
Many students said they prefer the crossing guards in front of Anderson and Gladfelter Halls, who are usually heard shouting the simple, repetitive, “Watch the cars” warning. And at the intersection by the Student Center, some students said the guards can be courteous, advising students to stay off cell phones and pay attention to the traffic pattern.
“It’s hit or miss,” said sophomore accounting major Julian Zarins.
“Some are nice, some are mean.”To avoid any future confrontation with Temple crossing guards, Blake has some final advice for campus walkers: “Don’t cross the street with headphones or a cell phone,” she said.
“They are sure to call you out.”
Some students, such as Nicole Catrambone, have also complained about the service in the Valaida S. Walker Food Court in the Student Center. Catrambone said she was craving a crepe, and chose to eat at the Mrs. Crepes kiosk in the food court. The only problem was that there was no worker behind the counter.
Catrambone, a junior kinesiology major, said she waited 10 minutes until the worker returned from the bathroom. The worker rolled her eyes when she saw a line, Catrambone said, and management was visibly upset with her tardiness.
“I think they should hire more social people,” Catrambone said after the incident. Though she was not angered about the wait, Catrambone said the worker was not very pleasant.
Mindy Segal, director of operations for Sodexho USA at Temple, said she receives feedback from students regarding the food and the workers. The comments generally include some form of “constructive criticism.”
“Positive feedback is always rewarded with our employees,” she said. If she receives a negative comment, that issue is addressed with the employee directly, she said.Segal also said that the touch screens used to place orders electronically were based on student feedback.
“There are kinks being worked out,” she said.
“We’ve managed to boost sales and move people along in the line.”
But for senior theater major Pat Joyce, the touch screens are not convenient.
Joyce electronically ordered a sandwich from the deli, got a drink once his slip was printed out, and waited by the deli kiosk to pick up his order. After about 15 minutes, Joyce asked the worker when his sandwich would be made.
“The woman yelled at me and told me she called my number five times and then threw out my sandwich,” he said. Joyce said there are many nice workers at the food court, but he sometimes picks up a “bad attitude” from some employees.
Ryan Kraemer, a sophomore finance major,
said he gets annoyed when the workers are sometimes too friendly with each other and put their jobs on the backburner.
“The worst is when they ask you what you want and they have a conversation with another worker,” he said. “A few minutes later, they look at you and ask you again what you wanted.”
But criminal justice major Crowell said that there are certain workers who seem to be consistently pleasant.”The sushi workers are the nicest people ever,” she said.
“They even try to have a conversation with you.”
At a large university like Temple, where relations between students and staff are practically unavoidable, it’s a “give-and-take” process, Blake said, and the best way for students to receive pleasant service is to be pleasant themselves.
“In order to get what you want, you have to give what you want,” she said. “But sometimes, the hard part is the giving.”
Chris Stover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.