By Matt Strout
After discovering her mother-in-law had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a nervous system disease, Mollie Elkman and her husband started the ALS Genius Fund, advocating and raising money for families and patients affected by ALS. The Genius Fund, which began operating in August 2019, raised more than $20,000 by January for the ALS Hope Foundation which supported Temple’s MDA/ALS Center of Hope and Neuromuscular Research Laboratory. In addition to donations, The Genius Fund highlighted the work of doctors who treat ALS and the hope they bring to patients with the disease.
By Pavlína Černá
Liz Moore, an english professor, published her fourth novel “Long Bright River” in January. The novel, set in the Kensington neighborhood, follows two sisters through two perspectives of the opioid crisis. The novel was translated into 15 languages, and a book tour took Moore to multiple countries, including the United Kingdom and Ireland prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Moore’s novel was a New York Times bestseller and was picked for Good Morning America’s book club.
By Madison Karas
On March 11, Temple University moved all classes online and closed Main Campus for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester due to cases of COVID-19 spreading to Pennsylvania and surrounding states. The decision followed many local universities to mitigate the spread of the disease, but left students facing confusion and stress as they navigated moving back home, online classes and the risk of contracting the virus. Students shared their reactions to the announcement and expressed fear, uncertainty and sadness about the semester’s rapidly changing circumstances.
By Bibiana Correa
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney ordered nonessential businesses to close on March 16. This meant several Temple facilities, including Charles Library, the Wellness Resource Center and Student Activities shut down their in-person services and transferred them online. University offices used Zoom, sent out email newsletters, built website extensions and used social media to connect with students and provide resources and information as they moved to virtual platforms.
By Madison Karas
On May 7, Temple’s largest ever class of graduates expected to walk in the Liacouras Center for commencement, but with campus buildings closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Liacouras Center converted to a makeshift hospital for COVID-19 patients, they celebrated virtually instead. Faculty, staff, administrators and alumni sent virtual video messages to graduates, and some schools and colleges hosted their own virtual ceremonies. Students found alternative ways to celebrate with their families amid lockdowns and social distancing restrictions, like having cookouts with their immediate family or ordering balloons and takeout to make the day as special as possible.
By Emma Padner
When Temple announced on June 2 that Fall 2020 semester classes would be a mix of in person and online learning, students worried about how in-person classes would be held safely but also how hands-on programs, like art or music, would be taught virtually. Students expressed concern about how safety precautions would be enforced, where they could attend online classes while on campus and if campus reopening was the best plan for Temple and North Central communities as the fall semester approached.
By Emma Padner
In previous years, incoming freshmen would spend a night in White Hall with other students after a day of orientation activities and tours in person, eager to learn about life at Temple. This year, due to restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, students experienced orientation virtually via Zoom. From June 1 until July 31, Owl Team Leaders led incoming freshmen through a “choose-your-own-adventure” style orientation, where freshmen decided which and how many orientation meetings they would attend. After meeting with students in various groups, incoming freshmen turned to group messages to meet others prior to the Fall 2020 semester.
By Natalie Kerr
As some students returned to campus for the fall semester in August, food vendors dealt with financial blows from the lack of on campus foot traffic compared to previous years. Food trucks and businesses at The Wall lost a significant amount of business due to Governor Tom Wolf’s suspension of all non-life-sustaining business in March. Vendors and students expressed concerns about the financial implications of the pandemic on small businesses and following public health guidelines while on campus.
By Lawrence Ukenye
In September, after Temple announced plans to switch to mainly online instruction for the fall semester, roughly two-thirds of students who originally moved on campus left residence halls to secure refunds for housing and meal charges. Students who remained in on campus housing shared their decisions to stay. From grappling with deserted residence halls to finding ways to stay safe amid a surge in university COVID-19 cases, students reflected on how the virus had affected their idea of the typical college experience.
By Matthew Aquino
After COVID-19 cases on campus rose to more than 200 among students and employees, Temple moved nonessential classes online on Sept. 3. Classes deemed essential, like some performance and laboratory-based classes, continued to operate in person. Students and faculty shared how they were staying safe during these meetings by wearing masks, attending class outdoors or installing plexiglass barriers in classrooms to limit contact and potential exposure to the virus.
By Chelsea Badri
Philadelphia raised indoor dining capacities to 50 percent on Oct. 2, before it was later suspended again the following month, which felt risky to some Temple students who work in the restaurant industry. Three students working in city restaurants shared their experiences with indoor dining during the COVID-19 pandemic shortly after capacity was increased. They feared exposure to COVID-19 while at work, but needed to work to pay their bills, rent or tuition.
By Natalie Kerr and Emma Padner
This year marked one hundred years after the 19th ammendement passed, which resulted in the inability to deny the right to vote based on sex. With Kamala Harris running to be the first women, Black and Asian American Vice President in the general election, the centennial of women’s suffrage carried more weight in women voters’ minds. Women voters in the Temple community felt the importance of women representation in politics and came out to vote, speaking on the importance of women’s rights, racial justice and COVID-19 relief during the election cycle.
By Matthew Aquino
As COVID-19 cases continued to rise through Philadelphia and across the country and Philadelphia banned indoor gatherings until 2021 on Nov. 16, students faced the decision of whether to travel home to see family members for Thanksgiving or stay living near campus. Students had small get-togethers with their immediate family rather than elaborate dinners with extended family, altered Black Friday traditions and found new ways to celebrate and give thanks.
By Joelle Delprete
When Temple suspended most in-person activities in late November and closed residence halls and some on campus facilities until the spring semester, many Temple students prepared for their final exams from home. Students discussed their challenges to stay motivated and the need to manage their study schedules amid the distractions of at home life. While some felt prepared after managing online coursework for the entire semester, other students shared feelings of being overwhelmed.