President Wingard explores campus solutions on bike ride through the neighborhood
Temple President Jason Wingard, parents, students and members of Campus Safety Services took a bike ride through the North Philadelphia neighborhood last Tuesday afternoon in a grassroots effort to highlight the importance of the university and the local community working together.
Temple University President Jason Wingard, campus safety officers and university officials got together last Tuesday afternoon for a bike tour of neighborhoods surrounding Main Campus to gather insights on issues faced by community residents and students.
Last Tuesday’s bike ride came just a few weeks after President Wingard met with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw to discuss campus safety solutions. Meeting with residents, Wingard said, is another effort in the ongoing mission to improve campus safety.
“Today we’re going to ride our bikes around the neighborhood and engage in dialogue with members of our community,” Wingard said before the ride. “We want to learn—how we can be better neighbors. How we can be better partners? How we can collaborate on effective solutions in this community that we share?”
The group met with many longtime North Philadelphia residents including Guadalupe “Lupe” Portillo, who has been living at her home on Norris Street for more than 70 years. In her experience living near campus, Portillo said she believes that Temple provides many safety resources its students can depend on, such as the free evening shuttle service FLIGHT, but that students should use more caution as they move through the neighborhoods late at night.
“Common sense goes a long way,” said Daniel Eidenzon, Class of 2023, an actuarial science major and Portillo’s neighbor who listened to the discussion with President Wingard.
Temple student Daniel Eidenzon listened to the conversation between his neighbor, Lupe Portillo, and President Wingard last Tuesday. (Photography by Joseph V. Labolito)
The group also stopped at community centers like the Norris Community Resident Council and the Amos Recreation Center—places where neighborhood residents would like to see more involvement from Temple student volunteers.
Jay Marrow, who serves on the advisory council for Amos, said the center suffers from a lack of funding, and that she believes Temple students could fill that void by volunteering.
“I would like to see the Temple students come and help the kids here after school,” Marrow said. “Students are users of the rec center, but they haven’t been volunteering to help out in the rec center. I would love to see stuff like that, to see them help the children with things like learning how to play Monopoly.”
Marrow also sees volunteering as a way to build a community in a neighborhood that has a mix of longtime residents and Temple students.
“This rec center would be a perfect hub for a lot of things to go on, and you could introduce the people in the neighborhood,” she said. “These old people, who’ve been here for a while, still don’t know who these students are. Introduce them. Give them things to do. Bring them on in.”
Joining the group was Jacob Golden, Class of 2022, who serves as the chief external services officer for Temple Student Government. Golden said last Tuesday’s event was productive because it allowed university officials and stakeholders to talk with residents about real-world solutions, such as incentivizing landlords to install additional lighting and other safety measures to student housing.
“We need to get input, like we’re here getting input from you all now, about what Temple can do and what the city can do,” Golden said.
“Now we have the grant program for landlords to be able to do something like install lights, so we can increase lighting out in the community,” he continued. “That’s something that we need to continue to talk to residents about and ask, what else can be done?”
President Wingard and Temple student Jacob Golden discussed solutions with members of the community at Amos Recreation Center. (Photography by Joseph V. Labolito)
President Wingard was inspired by residents’ perspectives. “The fact that so many people in the community made themselves available showed that they cared, showed that they wanted to engage, which was the intent of the ride today,” he said. “These are problems that affect all of us, and I was glad that they were there to talk about and brainstorm collective solutions.”
At the end of March, Temple announced a new round of campus safety improvements which include the landlord security upgrade grant program, plans to establish a neighborhood watch program and an update on the university’s hiring of additional Temple Police officers.
More information about Temple’s safety initiatives is available at temple.edu/safety.