Student Center Working Down to the Wire to Finish Food Court

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Jason Levy gives Temple Update a tour of the new food court.

It’s out with the old and in with the new at the Howard Gittis Student Center as the fall semester kicks off.

The Student Center saw major renovations beginning the day after graduation and will continue into the wee hours of the morning on August 28, the first day of classes.

The atrium received a cosmetic overhaul, with new flooring, information desk, and furniture, but a brand new Starbucks now calls the atrium home. The only vendor in the student center to offer breakfast, Starbucks will open at 8:30am Monday morning, just in time for classes.

But those aren’t the only new features students will encounter. The second floor food court has been entirely redesigned, featuring LED light fixtures, flat screens, microwaves, furniture, and multiple new dining options.

The changes to the dining options at the student center comes as Aramark takes over the dining contract at Temple University. Temple’s contract with former food service provider, Sodexo, ended this summer. Despite the contracting shift, 75% of the former Sodexo line staff has been rehired under Aramark.

New vendors Chick-fil-a, Which Wich, Twisted Taco, Zen, Zaya, Saladworks, and BurgerFi were hard at work training their brand new staff when Temple Update got a preview of the new layout. Temple’s BurgerFi is the first college campus location in the company’s history.

All these tasty options will be available on the first day of classes at 11am.

The redesign, which was funded by Aramark, focuses on bright colors, more natural light, and creating an area where students want to hang out, according to Jason Levy, Senior Director of Student Center Operations. Levy had a hand in the project from start to finish, and is excited to see what students think about the new food court and atrium spaces.

The way you pay at the student center will also change. Students will no longer have to wait in line for food and then again to pay, and will instead pay at the vendors counter. Students will also be able to use meal swipes and Diamond Dollars to pay for their food. Another new addition? A Diamond Dollar office right off the circle dining area and a Diamond Dollar deposit machine, making it easier for students to access their meal money.

As for decor, there will be five MTVU flat screens, 50 paintings by Temple Trustee Dennis Alter, and a large 12 foot by 16 foot LED television that will screen the Notre Dame vs Temple football game. New vinyl covers the walls with maps of Philadelphia and more.

While the space looks different, something remain the same. The new food court it still holds 750 seats – the same number before the overhaul. And Tapingo, the app that allows students to order their food and have it ready for pick up, will return to all student center vendors on October 1.

The lower level of the student center, home to the book store and the UPS store, will remain untouched for another year or two before it is renovated to match the rest of the building.

Levy said that the construction crew, many of which have been working up to 20 hours a day to complete the project on time, will be working down to the wire to make sure that everything is perfect for those students coming in Monday. “We’re about 90% there,” said Levy. “Just corner caps and touch ups [left to be done].”

Campus Construction Continues as Students Flock to Campus for Fall Semester

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Students returning to Temple University this fall will see more than few upgrades to their favorite main campus spaces.

While construction on the new library will continue until the Spring of 2019, many of the cosmetic and structural upgrades are set to open as students head to their first day of classes.

Photo courtesy of Temple University

Founder’s Garden has received a complete makeover, including the removal of trees, new landscaping, new pavers, benches, and a large Temple T in the middle. A new owl has also been installed in Alumni Circle, but the university has assured students via social media the beloved Red Owl won’t be going away permanently; it will receive a new home inside Founder’s Garden.

The Bell Tower will also see continued landscaping and cosmetic renovations in the upcoming weeks. Announced in the spring as a phase of the Verdant Temple project, the Bell Tower is set to be dedicated in honor of trustee H. F. “Gerry” Lenfest upon completion. The bells were cleaned and reinstalled this summer, and will ring each day on the hour.

The Howard Gittis Student Center is set to reopen on August 28 with a brand new food court, provides new dining options such as Saladworks and Chick-fil-A. The atrium, which has been closed during the summer sessions, has already reopened with new furniture and brand new flooring.

The brand new student recreation facility, or the STAR (Student Training and Recreation) Complex is set to open its doors to students on the first day of the semester, providing brand new classroom space for the College of Public Health.

One of the changes that will continue to develop include the expansion of the Fox School of Business. The expansion project, which was announced in late June, will include a skywalk that will connect Speakman Hall with 1810 Liacouras Walk.

As of now, there are no definitive plans for the space that will become available after Peabody Hall is torn down during winter break.

Temple Student Petitions City Hall to Rename Taney Street

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Mayor Kenney emailed his support to Basile Friday.

After a volatile week in Charlottesville, Virginia, one Temple student is asking City Hall to rename a street that is currently named after a Supreme Court Justice who ruled in favor of slavery in 1857.

George Basile, a Temple senior who has previously served in Temple Student Government, recently created a petition to rename Taney Street, a road in Philadelphia named for Justice Rodger Taney, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who wrote the Dred Scott Decision. The case brought to the court by Dred Scott for his freedom, was denied, and Taney read the majority opinion against Scott’s case.

Basile said he came up with the idea to petition city hall for a name change after walking by the street and researching Taney and his views. In his letter to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and other city officials, he suggests renaming the street for Mo’Ne Davis.

“Davis played on the Taney Street Little League team and led them on a historic run to Williamsport, PA where she and the Taney Dragons made history,” wrote Basile.

Mayor Kenney emailed Basile his support Friday, saying that he supports the name change but that there is more work to be done; the next step is drafting a resolution to council member Kenyatta Johnson and council president Darrell Clarke, representatives of the 2nd and 5th districts respectively. Taney Street runs through both of their districts.

Basile told Temple Update Friday that the Temple community has been “overwhelmingly receptive” to his petition, but has also received some negative comments as well. Despite some backlash, Basile plans to move forward and continue to advocate for the name change.

At of the time of publication, Basile’s petition had garnered 170 signatures.

Temple Update’s Senior Send Off: Spring Class of 2017

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As is tradition here at Temple Update, we say farewell to our seniors through a montage at the end of the semester. This spring, 24 seniors will walk through studio 3 one last time before they are handed their diplomas. Take a look at some of our fondest memories of the class of 2017.

All of us here at Temple Update are so proud of our colleagues, and wish them the best in their future endeavors.

Your Graduation Forecast

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Graduation is drawing near and our Kate Reilly has the latest weather forecast for your commencement festivities.

Kate stepped into the Weather Center for the first time as she gets ready to graduate and head off to Fort Meyers, Florida, where she will be a news producer at NBC2/ABC7.

All of us here at Temple Update wish Kate and the entire senior class good luck and best wishes in their future endeavors.

Your Final Edition of Temple Timeout for the Semester

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In the last edition of Temple Timeout for the semester, Bri Hofsass and Vince Coll break down the potential draft picks ahead of next week’s NFL Draft on the Ben Franklin Parkway. We also take a look at the spring Cherry and White game, and the Women’s Lacrosse senior game to be played against the Florida Gators.

And, for our last episode, we have a special surprise for you.

Stay tuned next semester for new episodes, and keep following @TU_SportsDesk on Twitter for the latest on the NFL draft.

Museum Commemorating American Revolution Opens in Old City

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History enthusiasts rejoice!

The Museum of the American Revolution opened its doors for the first time Wednesday, the 242nd anniversary of the first shots of the revolution.

Vice President of Collections, Exhibition and Programming Dr. Scott Stephenson gave us a look at what those visiting the museum would get to see.

The museum has over fifteen rooms and theaters filled with artifacts, interactive exhibits, and immersive experiences, including a 4-D experience of the Battle of Brandywine, which includes flashing lights, puffs of smoke, and shaking floors.

”We’re going to line you up as if your in the continental army company,” said Stephenson, as we marched into the battle.

One of the most exciting parts of the museum, in Stephenson’s opinion, is the tent that belonged to General Washington. It was acquired in 1909 by an Episcopal priest, Reverend Herbert Burk, with the hopes of creating a museum to memorialize the American Revolution.

“It’s unlike anything you will ever see in any other museum,” said Stephenson

My favorite part? The Liberty Tree.

A Liberty Tree is where colonists would gather to protest the Stamp Act or post signs against the monarchy, a form of social media long before there was even the thought of internet.

Dr. Stephenson pointed out a special part of the MAR Liberty Tree to us as we walked by: within the replica tree is a panel of wood from the last known Liberty Tree – a Tulip Poplar from Annapolis, Maryland.

This museum is 17 years in the making, but those I spoke with told me it was all worth the wait.

“I thought it was wonderful, especially a couple of places where we actually gasped in delight,” said Cynthia Jacobus.

“It shows the whole gambit of the revolution…they’ve done an amazing job of really telling the story from the bottom up,” said historical re-enactor John Rees.

Your Weekly Edition of Temple Timeout

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It is that time of the week and this week were are definitely feeling the Fever here at Temple Update.

That’s right, Temple’s very own Feyonda Fitzgerald was drafted by the WBNA in the second round by the Indiana Fever last night.  Vince and Bri will also have your women’s lacrosse highlights, who are currently on a hot streak and looking to clinch a number two seed in the Big East conference tournament.

Your Weekly Edition of Temple Timeout

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On this week’s edition of Temple Timeout, Vince Coll and Bri Hofsass are joined by Kyle Gauss of to discuss the upcoming season and the battle for that quarterback position. Logan Marchi, Anthony Russo, Frank Nutile, and Todd Centeio are all vying for the position.

Bri and Vince also take a look at the women’s lacrosse team, who are playing their best game in the history of the program, sitting at 10-2 overall.

Developments in TSG Elections Ahead of Announcement of Results

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New reports today from the Temple Student Government hopefuls say that Connecting TU brought forth evidence of violations by Activate TU over six days ago.

In an emailed statement to Temple Update, campaign manager Kevin Malone said Connecting TU Presidential Candidate Ari Abramson brought concerns about the ethics of Activate TU’s campaign to the elections committee six days ago, but received no response. Connecting TU claims that Activate mislead students about how many endorsements they had obtained, and they did not file them correctly within the binder at the TSG office in the student center.

Connecting TU also alleges that Activate TU spent over the $1,000 limit set by the elections committee. “The sheer amount of t-shirts, buttons, and social media advertising we feel that they did not properly report all of this and remain under the budget,” said the statement. They maintain that they were “diligent” to stay under the budget set by the committee.

Malone also cites space usage infractions as a concern. While the elections committee gave Activate TU a full point penalty for not reserving the Bell Tower on April 4, they were not penalized for their use of the space on the following day, April 5.

At the time of April 5, another group had reserved the space, but gave it as a “gift” to Activate. According to documents attached to the statement, student government campaigns are considered “external parties” and would have to pay $160 minimum for the space. Connecting TU claims they went through the proper channels to reserve spaces, while Activate TU did not follow protocol.

Noah Goff, Elections Commissioner, notified both Malone and Rebecca Gonzalez that neither team were allowed to campaign at the Bell Tower on April 5. Activate TU was present at the Bell Tower on April 5. When the Elections Commissioner was informed of this, Activate TU’s campaign was suspended. Malone alleges that the suspension was lifted because Connecting TU was also campaigning there.

Temple Update reached out to Activate TU and were told they [Activate] “were originally suspended for perceived misuse of space while we were at the bell tower.” As for the other violations they are accused of, Activate said they did not receive any violation involving finance or endorsement paperwork and that “the commission took the extra time during the delay to review our finances, which were in order.”

“After both this unfounded suspension and unnecessary delay, we look forward to seeing the results,” said Activate TU.

Temple Update also reached out to Election Commissioner Noah Goff, but received no response at the time of publication.