Temple students and staff come together to clean North Philadelphia neighborhoods
Last month, Temple continued its tradition of organizing a citywide cleanup to maintain and beautify the neighborhoods surrounding Main Campus.
Equipped with trash bags, gloves and a commitment to their community, Temple students and staff took to the streets near Main Campus on the morning of Saturday, April 15, to clean up trash and beautify the neighborhood. The citywide cleanup event is part of a long-standing tradition at Temple to maintain cleanliness near campus and build a positive relationship with neighbors in the surrounding communities.
Members from Temple’s football team and men and women’s soccer teams, as well as staff from Athletics, the Office of Sustainability, and the Office of Community Affairs and Engagement gathered at Berean Presbyterian Church on the corner of Broad and Diamond streets. The volunteers broke up into groups and conducted cleanups targeting various locations near campus, including the neighborhoods around the Carver Engineering and Science School, Temple Sports Complex and the adjacent business district, the Yorktown neighborhood, and the area near Berean Presbyterian Church.
The volunteers disposed of trash along the streets, moved oversized trash items to the curb, pulled weeds and swept in the targeted areas. Temple’s grounds team donated cleaning supplies for the effort, and Temple’s Service Operations team deployed its trash truck to allow trash to immediately be removed from the neighborhoods.
The cleanup targeted areas that are historical dump sites, as well as places where residents could use additional Temple resources and manpower to help remove trash.
“We know that we can help address blight in our North Philadelphia neighborhoods by assembling groups of Temple staff and students to do this work,” said Andrea Swan, director of community and neighborhood relations in the Office of Community Affairs and Engagement.
Swan has helped organize Temple’s annual citywide cleanup for more than a decade. For the past five years, she has organized the event in partnership with Carolyn Burkholder, senior sustainability manager in the Office of Sustainability, and Greg Bonaparte, a member of Temple’s Violence Reduction Task Force and an official at Berean Presbyterian Church.
“No question, we recognize that Temple is a part of North Central Philadelphia’s community. Many of us Owls work here, play here and live here, so we understand the importance of maintaining these neighborhoods,” Swan said. “The citywide cleanup has been very successful in previous years, so we are trying to keep the momentum going.”
Other partners for this year’s event included Donna Richardson, president of the Norris Community Resident Council Inc., and Carlton Williams, the Philadelphia streets commissioner. Richardson helped Swan identify areas to target cleanup efforts in the Norris Homes and Yorktown communities, while Williams kept his sanitation department on hand to help collect trash in the blocks that were cleaned.
The men’s soccer team spent the morning cleaning the area near Temple Sports Complex, where they practice and play their home games, and its adjacent business district, a common place for trash dumping. Led by Athletic Director Arthur Johnson, the team removed all of the trash that had been piling up in the parking lots near the sports fields.
Cleaning up the area where they spend time training and competing was especially important to the team and their first-year head coach, Bryan Green.
“We’re a part of the community. We can’t just show up and kick a soccer ball around and say we’re a part of the community if we’re not getting out ourselves and doing this kind of work,” Coach Green said.
“This is where we play. We want to keep this clean and keep it our own,” said Jimi Leder, a junior on the team. “We came out this morning to clean up for the local community and take pride in what we have.”