Workers keep cold campus alive

Over winter break, campus is all but dead, aside from the many workers who prepare for students’ return.

Stroll around Temple’s campus during winter break, and you may experience a chill down your spine. Being on campus during the break, with its desolate appearance and freezing temperatures, seems akin to a scene from the 2007 post-apocalyptic box office hit I Am Legend.

The outdoor food court in front of Anderson Hall was not in its usual glory of fully occupied benches and endless lines.

Liacouras Walk exuded eeriness without the hustle and bustle of students.

Just ask Kristin Stauffer, a Temple student who works at Saxbys Coffee. The junior secondary education major spent time on and off campus during the past two weeks.

Students walk down Berks Mall on a nearly deserted Main Campus. The usual bustle of campus seems to disappear over winter break, a time when Temple employees are hard at work (Kevin Cook/TTN).

“Campus has been pretty much dead, which is why [Saxbys Coffee] didn’t open until today. Our bosses didn’t think there were enough people around to keep the place open or open up earlier,” Stauffer said last Thursday.

The lack of student body presence made campus appear lifeless.

After Jan. 5, however, campus became more populated, though nowhere near its normal capacity.

A handful of faculty members and students prepped campus for the spring semester, working or taking the week-long course AIDS and Society.

Most of those on campus for the last two weeks readied campus for the upcoming semester.

At the TECH Center, Tech Support Manager Ronald Ardron and his staff ran maintenance on all workstations and systems in the building, while carpenters put the finishing touches on the place before it’s back to full capacity.

“Since we opened on Jan. 5, there hasn’t been too much of student usage,” Ardron said. “We might have about 100 to 150 students here, which is why it’s a good time to run maintenance.”

Junior journalism major Andrew Sharpe, a student worker in Paley Library, said employees were busy getting the library’s new media center ready for the spring semester.

“We’re moving DVDs to the basement and helping with the transition of the new Paley Media Center,” Sharpe said.

Even food vendors like Ruzhvi Gurra, owner of the Sexy Green Truck, are geared up for the return of the Temple student body.

“We’ve got a new truck, and we’ve added things to the menu like sweet butter fries,” Gurra said.
Just when you thought the Sexy Green Truck couldn’t go any greener, Gurra said he plans on adding solar panels to power the truck.

As to be expected, the Student Center is also busy with spring semester preparation during this short hibernation period.

Director of Student Center Operations Jason Levy said staff at the Student Center has been upgrading computers, painting, putting up new signage and processing reservations for the new semester for departments and student organizations at Temple.

“Other than the summer, the two or three weeks before winter break ends gives us a good amount of time to do a lot of maintenance and deep cleaning,” Levy said.

Levy said the time is bittersweet for the staff.

“The reason why I do what I do is because I love working with students, so we miss the students being here, but at the same time, it’s nice to have a little bit of quiet so that we can focus on the building and projects and maintenance,” he said.

“We’d like to have the Student Center full of people all the time and everything work great between programs and meetings. But we know we need to have downtime, so as we get into busy times, we won’t need to worry about things not working or the building not looking as good as it could look.”

The efforts of the staff workers indicate winter break was not only a break for the students. Winter break also offered the campus a break, a chance for every facet of Temple to unwind and refuel before the commotion starts again.

Joshua Fernandez can be reached at

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