I live in the basement of 1940.
No, really. 1940 has a basement and I live there, along with twenty-four other freshmen, eight sophomores, and one RA. You won’t hear any complaints coming from us though; we chose to live here under the themed living program. Well, most of us chose to anyway.
The “Dungeon” of 1940 is the ROCS floor, which stands for Residential Organization for Community Service. The purpose of living on this floor is to live with other people who enjoy helping others, and the floor is a gateway for other community service projects, so to speak. ROCS does not have funding from Temple University though, which is a huge problem. Because we do not receive money from the school, our projects are limited to the Temple Shuttle Bus. Those of us who participate in the community service projects are therefore prevented from being involved with activities that are far from campus.
The activities we take part in strengthen us as a floor and create a family atmosphere. Most of us love volunteering and giving our time for others. Activities include the AIDS Walk, helping the Salvation Army organize toys around the holidays, and participating in the Philly Cares program.
It sounds like ROCS is just a bunch of devoted service nerds living in harmony on a floor with an RA and a few kids who wish they lived somewhere else, right? Well, not exactly. The ground level floor has problems like any other floor would, plus one.
To gain recognition from Temple University, all organizations must be registered through the Office of Student Activities. Once an organization is registered for at least one full semester, the following semester they may receive financial assistance from Temple. This allows groups to put money toward food, equipment and projects. That is, as long as the program continues to re-register each semester.
The problem that ROCS has run into is that last semester ROCS neglected to re-register. This means that we just re-registered this semester and will have to wait until the spring to be eligible for any kind of financial assistance from the University.
OK, so somewhere along the line someone messed up and missed registration for the past two semesters. People make mistakes. But just because the program missed registration last semester, ROCS shouldn’t lose the credibility it worked to establish over the past three years. Once an organization has proven to be successful and has displayed strong longevity the University should automatically recognize the program and distribute funding.
This will be ROCS’ fifth year in existence and the University is aware of the program and the positive projects that ROCS partakes in. ROCS was given money before, so why should the program have to rebuild its good standing? The University knows that ROCS is reliable and will not waste money. With programs such as ROCS, a program that is in its ninth semester of existence, funding should come automatically from the University. Organizations, especially those aimed at helping others, should not have to apply for financial assistance only to be told to wait until the next semester to receive any help. We’re a community service floor; we’re merely asking for financial help to promote activities so we can continue to help others.
ROCS still participates in community service activities regardless of the funding issue, but until ROCS receives assistance the options for projects will stay limited.
The exact amount of money ROCS has received in previous years is unavailable, but it can be assumed that the funding aided in paying for transportation to off campus locations. University sponsorship would expand the ability ROCS would have to participate in more volunteer projects. Right now, due to lack of money, ROCS can only go as far with projects as the shuttle service will provide.
For instance, last year ROCS volunteered at the Angel Flight East Air Show in Blue Bell. ROCS attended to help with parking cars and selling food, but not without much difficultly. Keep in mind that ROCS did not have funding assistance last year either, so transportation was extremely hard to come by. After unsuccessfully coming up with our own means of bussing, Angel Flight East agreed to provide the buses, which was a hassle, to say the least.
ROCS got lucky that time. Most organizations would not be as kind to pay for our volunteer work; they could easily find help somewhere else and save their money. If Temple does not provide funding, ROCS will have to walk away from volunteer projects for lack of transportation. Without money, ROCS will be unable to experience new projects and extend our volunteer work to new places that are off campus.
Fast forward to this fall. Here we are, still in a rut for money, crossing our fingers in hope that our luck doesn’t run out. Is ROCS going to have to ask Angel Flight to provide transportation as we did last year, and will Angel even agree to that hassle again? Will ROCS be able to expand our program outside of the route of the Temple Shuttle Bus?
Not without funding.
Beth Keeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.