Students flooded into streets, parks and community centers throughout North Philadelphia last Saturday morning. They offered a small taste of what student volunteers can do for the city.
The event, titled Temple B. Moore and coordinated by Temple Student Government, saw approximately 700 people divide into more than 25 areas, all with a specific goal of cleaning up the nearby neighborhood. Junior psychology and pre-medical double major Emilie Lussier led one group of 12 people to the corner of 8th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue.
There, they picked up trash in and around a community playground.
“It’s great to show the neighborhood that we are not stereotypical,” Lussier said.
“We’re not cookie cutter frat boys and girls.” Meredith LaBuda, a junior finance major, said the program “shows residents of North Philly that [Temple students] don’t just go to school here.”
After working for approximately three hours, students returned to the Bell Tower for free pizza and sandwiches provided by TSG.
“The strength was that we brought together all of these people with a common passion,” said Kyra Taylor, a TSG community service chair.
“This is all because of the great success of 1K Help for a Day last fall,” said TSG Vice President of Student Affairs Juan Galeano, referring to a similar community service event held last October. “We’re probably going to hold something like this every semester now.”
When participants were asked if anything could be done to improve the event for next year, some logistical matters were brought up.
“We were somewhat disorganized during the morning registration,” Galeano said.
Students were told in an e-mail to come and register at 8:30 a.m., but an hour later, there were still long lines of people waiting for T-shirts and group assignments.
“These were just the normal challenges of such a large group,” Taylor said.
Following registration, members of the Diamond Gems dance team, football players and football Coach Al Golden geared people up for the work ahead.
“This was different than 1K [Help] for a Day because we were a lot more interactive, with the football players and such,” Galeano said. “We also did a lot of advertisement on this through facebook, e-mail and posters.”
“This was better planned than 1K,” said Lamar Wallace, TSG community service co-chair. “We visited a lot more [recreation] centers this time, compared to before.”One thing many students hope for in future events is more peer-to-peer involvement with residents of the community.
“One of the best ideas I can think of is to clean the community with the help of the community,” said Nir Guy, a senior finance major. “I wish we could work with the residents.”
This likely will be improved upon in the future, Taylor said.
“It is an awesome idea that we include Temple students more with the community the next time we do this.”
And, with two large-scale community service
events tentatively scheduled by TSG each semester for the coming school year, students may be making future relationships with North Philadelphia bright.
Travis Gold can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.