Update Abroad: A Very Dublin Christmas

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Carolers and festive lights brighten the streets of Dublin now that the holiday season is here.

Stores are already crowded with holiday shoppers, and a few stopped to tell me about their Dublin Christmas traditions.

“You have to walk up Grafton Street coming up to Christmas after they turn the lights on,” said shopper Ana Loughlin.

“There’s always like big bands and acts that always like play up at the top of the street for charity and stuff like that, like you’d get Bono and Hozier and they always just play randomly on Christmas Eve every year,” added Dublin native Robert Adamson.

I also found out what foods fill their tables on Christmas Day.

Long-time Dublin resident John Cully remembers that “a thing called spiced round is very popular at Christmas and we always got that” at his family’s holiday meals, and Adamson added, “baked potatoes, croquettes – it’s basically just potatoes and meat.”

Loughlin told me that a traditional Irish Christmas meal would include “brussel sprouts usually, but not everybody likes that so it depends who you ask. Carrots – but it’s really the turkey, ham, stuffing. It has to be good stuffing.”

And of course, the Irish pub scene plays a big role in the festivities – “especially with the whole Twelve Pubs of Christmas tradition,” remarked Adamson.

“You know, people you have to meet for Christmas drinks in the specific pubs in town as well, like O’Donoghue’s or Searson’s and places like that. There’s like really Christmas-y pubs that kind of – that’s what makes me feel it’s Christmas,” says Loughlin.

Several Christmas markets are set to open next weekend and nearly every street of the city is adorned with holiday lights. In fact, the Dublin City Council hung just over 47,000 festive light bulbs on Grafton Street alone.

And with holiday shoppers filling the stores to the sound of Christmas music, there’s no doubt that Dubliners are ready for Christmas.

Take a peek at more of this year’s Dublin holiday events here.

Temple Owl Finds a Second Home in Dublin

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One of our very own Temple Owls has found a second home while studying abroad with SMC Study Away.

Temple University Senior Ana Padilla decided to take her studies overseas to Ireland this semester.

She studies at the Dublin Business School, a college in Dublin city centre with a large number of international students. She enjoys the diverse population, saying, “I have classes with Irish students, I’m in a group project with German students, and there’s a lot of people just from all over the place, so it’s good to get to meet people from different backgrounds.”

Ana is able to take courses that directly relate to and count towards her Journalism major at Temple, such as her magazine production class.

“Magazines are actually something that I’m interested in getting into, so it’s good practice for me to get to learn about how to put together a magazine, what it takes to be on the production team, so it’s really good experience,” says Padilla.

She also has an internship with one of the biggest newspapers in Ireland, the Irish Daily Star, and says, “I’m actually writing articles for their website and putting out my own material every week when I’m there, so it’s a good opportunity.”

With only a few weeks of the semester left, Ana is grateful for her time spent overseas, and feels, “I definitely made the right choice coming abroad, traveling is something that I’ve always wanted to do and I really needed to take this opportunity while I’m in school, to be able to go abroad and visit a new country.”

As one of only four students from Temple currently studying at Dublin Business School, Ana is gaining a unique experience that will help her pursue a career in photojournalism after graduation.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral: Preserving Medieval Architecture and Religion in Dublin

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Along one of Dublin’s busiest roadways stands the largest and one of the oldest churches in Ireland – St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The story of the cathedral begins centuries ago, when St. Patrick is said to have come to these holy grounds to practice Christianity.

Andrew Smith, Head of Education at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, says the name and location of the cathedral are based on this story.

He tells, “there is a popular legend that St. Patrick himself visited this spot about 1,500 years ago, and he used a well to baptize converts into Christianity.”

Construction on the cathedral began in the 12th century, ad St. Patrick’s became the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland more recently in 1922.

Smith said that since the Republic of Ireland gained Independence, “this cathedral represents the entire island of Ireland, North and South, so technically two different countries.”

The building is open to the public daily for tours and worship, and hundreds of people visit each week.

“The Cathedral is an active place of worship, so that means that we have services actually twice a day. Outside of those services times we open our doors to visitors, and we are very, very lucky because last year we had 535,000 visitors to the cathedral,” says Smith.

And St. Patrick’s Park provides a community space for families and tourists to enjoy beautiful views of the cathedral.

From the architecture to the statues within, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the most historically significant buildings to Irish Christianity.

100 Years Later, Irish Remember the 1916 Easter Rising

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Walking around the city of Dublin, visitors may notice murals and plaques all with one common theme – the historic battle of the 1916 Easter Rising.

The year marks the 100-th anniversary of the 1916 Rising, when Irish Nationalists led a rebellion against the British in an attempt to gain independence.

Donal Casey, an Irish Culture and Politics Lecturer at the Dublin Business School, says the rising was not as successful as the rebels hoped, stating, “The rebellion was a military failure, from the Irish Nationalist point of view, but the leaders of the rebellion were executed, and this really radicalized public sympathy and public opinion towards the more radical, Nationalist view. So the event itself wasn’t incredibly successful, but the legacy was very important and it lead directly to the events that lead to independence in 1922.”

Many buildings and monuments still stand in modern Dublin as reminders of the rebels who fought in the Easter Rising. Casey commented, “The General Post Office is the main, tangible monument of the 1916 Rising – it’s the place that was the headquarters of the rebels… you’ll also find plaques and different things. The other really obvious way that the rebels of the 1916 Rising are remembered is in place names and street names.”

On O’Connell Street, where most of the fighting took place, reminders of the 1916 Easter Rising still surround us today. Many buildings and statues, such as the monument of religious freedom leader Daniel O’Connell, still bear bullet holes from the original 1916 battles.

Commemorative parades, re-enactments, and other events were also held throughout the year in Dublin and all across Ireland to celebrate the centenary.

Welcome to Dublin!

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Dublin, Ireland has the hustle and bustle of any city, but embraces a unique mixture of global citizens.

Sixteen colleges, universities and technical institutes draw students from many different countries to the city of Dublin for higher education.

Temple Owl Bridgette Ivkovich says this international population creates a unique atmosphere.

“DBS (Dublin Business School) is really, really diverse, it has a lot of international students. There’s a lot of Germans and French and Italians in my class, along with the Irish and American students, so there’s a lot of different cultural influences.”

Students aren’t the only ones coming to Dublin. Tourists flock here from around the world to see what the historical city has to offer.

Historic monuments like the Spire of Dublin and the General Post Office attract visitors from around the world, while the Temple Bar District offers pubs and coffee shops to get a taste of Ireland.


Alumni Reconnect & Reflect at Temple Update Reunion

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Annenberg Hall welcomed back familiar faces at the 2016 Temple Update Reunion held on Saturday, May 7th.

Temple Update alumni reconnected with friends and revisited Studio Three, where they spent many days and nights working on shows during their time at Temple.

Cherri Gregg, a 2012 graduate, recalled how “many of us virtually lived in Studio 3,” and 2009 graduate Shari English agreed, stating, “my most memorable moments were when I was directing the show, when I would be here until 2 in the morning, editing stuff, putting things together, making sure the show was good to go.”

Dozens of Update alumni are now extremely successful in their careers, and many credit Temple Update for pointing them in the right direction.

Andrew Forgotch, class of ’09, said “this is where I really go the foundation for what I do now, which is reporting out in Harrisburg.”

2010 graduate Rob Czyzewicz said, “We don’t work in news, but everything that we do everyday is what we got a foundation of here.”

Saturday’s event featured two sessions of studio tours and food – a noontime lunch and en evening cocktail party.

The reunion acted as a memorial for beloved Temple Update co-founder Richard “Rick” Beardsley.

Beardsley was deeply loved by his students and left a legacy within the program.

Rob Czyzewicz remarked, “He passed away in 2011, and so we were among the last class of people who worked with Rick, and he was a completely instrumental part of what we learned how to do here.”

Alumnus Jared Voll said, “Rick was just an amazing human being. He dedicated all his time and energy to Temple Update,” and alumna Victoria Lim stated, “There’s no way that I would have had the friendships that I have now, the career that I have, the life that I have without him.”

Fond memories of time with Rick were shared all day. Alumna Amiekay Richcrick remembered how “Rick always wanted the best for us, and Rick would go out of his way to teach us and make us a better producer, anchor, or reporter.” 1998 graduate Kevin Negandhi said, “he loved Temple Update, he loved Temple, and he loved the kids.”

In the words of Charles Fedullo, class of 1990, “Temple Update was Rick Beardsley.”

Beardsley’s contributions will never be forgotten, memorialized in the Rick Beardsley Temple Update Award. Saturday’s event was also a fundraiser for the award.

Recent 2016 graduate Rebeccah Hendrickson is this year’s award recipient after four years of dedication to the program.

In her award acceptance speech, Hendrickson proclaimed, “The phrase ‘Temple Made’ goes around here a lot, and a lot of athletes will say, ‘I’m Temple Football Made’ or ‘I’m Temple Basketball Made,’ but I’m Temple Update Made.”

The official amount of funds raised on Saturday has not yet been announced, but 20/20 Visual Media co-owners and Temple Update alumni Rob Czyzewicz and Patrick Rosenbaum pledged to match contributions made at the event up to $2,500.

Urban Farm Plants Seeds for Community Growth

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Walking north on 11th Street, Temple students may come across an unexpected find – the urban farm Life Do Grow.

The farm was created in 2010 after a group of young Philadelphians decided to reclaim the abandoned space, which had been an empty lot turned illegal dump site.

The urban farm now houses a full greenhouse, vegetable garden, and showcases murals and artwork.

Life Do Grow is the biggest farm of the seven North Philadelphia farms and gardens operated by the organization Philly Urban Creators.

This initiative uses the farm as a gathering space for community members to plant and harvest food crops, participate in workshops, and even take classes.

Jeannine Kayembe, a Philly Urban Creators Co-Executive Director, says that “the whole goal for this space is to be growing in a space where things are also growing.” 

Community revitalization is the main focus of the organization, which recognizes that food and young people are at the heart of the neighborhood.

“Urban Creators is really focused on how to give young people a platform to not only express themselves in artistic ways but also how are they able to be the pioneers of the revitalization of their own neighborhood,” says Kayembe. 

Philly Urban Creators hosts everything from educational workshops to music festivals at Life Do Grow and plan to keep the momentum going, offering resources and opportunities to community members and Temple students alike.

Brianna Spause, a Temple Junior, volunteers at the farm. After spending time at the gardening site, she feels that “it’s really important for Temple students to get involved with the community that we live in because the community was here first, and Temple was here second.” 

Another Temple student volunteer sophomore Kevin Gigler reflected on time spent with at Life Do Grow, stating, “Its a good exercise to be out here and to help the community… its really positive.”

Philly Urban Creators is working to recreate and reimagine the North Philadelphia landscape one garden at a time.

Site and Develop Manager Devon Bailey is proud of their work, “We’re breaking bridges right here, there’s neighborhood people here, different programs here, there’s Temple students here… this is the type of thing that is magic, you know what I mean, it should be in every neighborhood, everywhere.” 

Temple Greeks Unite at New Greek Week Event

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Temple’s Greek Week is back and features a brand new event this year.

United We Step is a program that aims to bring greater connectivity to the Greek community through a night of mingling and dancing between members of all four councils.

The Temple University Greek Association coordinated the event, which is the brainchild of Director of Greek Events Kiana Mann.

Mann says she wanted to create an event which would focus on uniting the organizations against incidents of racial discrimination and injustice.

Mann says, “You saw so much going on with race and discrimination issues on college campuses and within Greek life, and I just felt that really something needed to be done to take a stand for it.”

Members of all fraternities and sororities of the Interfraternity Council, Multicultural Greek Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, and Panhellenic Association were in attendance.

United We Step featured the men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. dancing step and teaching the crowd some moves, along with speaking about the legacy of their historically-black organization.

Chi Oriji, President of Temple University’s chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, says “You know, stepping is more than just choreography and movements – it shows unity, and that’s why we’re here. United We Step, and that basically says it all.”

Sisters of the National Pan-Hellenic Council’s Alpha Xi Delta and sisters of the Multicultural Greek Council’s Delta Phi Omega also came together to learn a stroll, which they performed during the event. This dance physically embodied the night’s message of unity, as Greek organizations from different councils don’t often collaborate.

Valerie Ramos, a sister of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc., felt that her organization benefitted greatly from the event, stating “I think it improved it drastically, as far as Greek unity-wise… We get to meet new faces and become closer to all the other organizations out of our council.”

Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity brother Patrick Dallas had a similar experience at United We Step and thinks the event “definitely unites all the Greek life, brings everyone together, and I think everyone’s having a good time.”

Kiana Mann is hopeful that the event will happen again next year, stating, “I definitely think that the more that this event happens, the more we really will become that united Greek community here at Temple.”

Brothers and sisters stepping as one, Temple’s Greek organizations came together for a night of unity through dance at United We Step.

Temple Alumna’s Unique Business Flourishes in Kensington

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A new coffee shop owned by a fellow Temple owl is gaining a lot of popularity for its uncommon features.

Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse opened its doors in December of 2015 on the corner of Frankford Avenue and East Huntingdon Street.

The shop is owned by Ariell Johnson, a 2005 Temple FOX School of Business graduate with a unique vision. She combines coffee brews and comic books within an inclusive and comforting atmosphere for customers.

“We want it to be for the gaming nerds, we want it to be for the sci-fi nerds, you know so we just want to be all-inclusive,” says Johnson.

Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse isn’t unique just to Philadelphia. Johnson is the first black woman to own a comic books store on the entire east coast. She is making waves as a black woman within geek culture and is using Amalgam to increase representation for women and minorities.

She focuses on showcasing literature from black and minority artists and giving them a space to sell their work. Johnson says “They tend to be from, you know, smaller publishers or independent work, so you have to work a little harder to get them.”

Amalgam also hosts a variety of community programs, events, and book signings to draw in new customers, community members, and comic book experts alike.

Johnson says Temple University helped prepare her for operating her own business and still reaps the benefits of having a Temple degree. “I have had people come in and say, I had to check your store out, I heard you were a Temple alum, so, you know, people really do respond to that,” says Johnson.

Johnson hopes the atmosphere of her shop is welcoming to all and that community members will think of Amalgam as a place to hangout and make their own.

She states, “If you are differently abled, if you are LGBTQ, if you are a person of color, if you are a woman, you know you’re definitely welcome in this space.”

You can find more information on Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse’s hours and upcoming events on its Facebook page.

Temple Health Officials Warn Students of Zika

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As students make their way back from Spring Break, Temple health officials want students to know Zika Virus has been spreading quickly, but is a minimal threat to most.  The virus — transmitted by mosquito bite or sexual contact — is mostly affecting areas south of Florida, including the Caribbean. But just last week, officials confirmed the first case of Zika Virus in Philadelphia.


Health officials on campus said symptoms are often mild, and can include headaches, rashes and fevers. Most people affected will have symptoms that last for less than one week.  Student Health Services issued an email before Spring Break, addressing the dangers of Zika Virus and techniques to prevent contraction. More information on how travelers can protect themselves can be found on the SHS website.


Senior Davonne Bonneau said he got the email. “I didn’t go out of the country, but they were just giving us ideas of how to stay away from the virus,” he said.


“I’m not pregnant so I’m not super concerned about it, but I think people should be aware because if it’s in Philly then there are obviously people at risk,” said Freshman Amy Heinmets.


Meanwhile, at Temple University Hospital, doctors say they’re urging pregnant women to be careful.  Dr. Laura Goetzl is the Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Temple University Hospital. She said Zika can be linked to birth defects, including microcephaly, an abnormality in the growth of the brain.


“The main people who need to be concerned are pregnant women or women who may get pregnant by accident, considering that most pregnancies, especially in college age students unplanned,” she said.  Mark Denys, Director of Temple Student Health Services, said 1 in 5 people with the virus experience symptoms, usually lasting less than a week.


“The symptoms are so minimal, and most people don’t even have symptoms. It’s something to keep an eye on — make sure you’re aware of what’s going on, but still, very low concern,” he said.