Block Leaders

Temple Students Breaking The Barrier

The divide between Temple students and members of the surrounding community has been present for decades. The issue was thrown into national spotlight in March 2014 when a resident of North Philadelphia hit a Temple student in the face with a brick not far off Temple’s campus. Four non-Temple students were involved in the incident, which sparked many questions regarding the tense relationship between students and other residents of our shared North Philly home.

Student organization Building Relationships in Communities (BRIC) is making strides to bridge the gap between students and those often referred to as “locals.” BRIC was created by six students: Abbey Luffey, Andrew Mazer, Veronica M. Ayala Flores, Erin Rose, Daniel Cruz and Todd Crawford.

There was a brick incident a couple of years ago and the victims affected were Andrew Mazer and Abbey Luffey. It seriously affected all of us and was concrete evidence that there’s something terribly wrong,” said Flores. “We came together and decided, ‘We need to do something about this, so what are we gonna do?’”

The goal of BRIC is to bring different groups of people together and create better relationships between Temple and its neighboring areas. Additionally, BRIC aims to bring attention to problems within the communities, encourage safe discussion and interaction, demonstrate common interests between the subgroups and discredit the stories that separate the communities.

“This is an important issue that many people are afraid to address or fail to notice altogether,” Mazer said.

Although BRIC was only founded less than two years ago, it has already accomplished many projects through networking, urban landscaping and education.

With such a diverse group of organizations on and around Temple’s campus, BRIC hopes to bring these groups together and help each other accomplish similar goals.

BRIC is currently collaborating with Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha to beautify the Germantown and 6th Street area. BRIC also implemented a “good neighbor initiative,” that encourages students to “engage in proactive and intentional efforts to build connections and relationships with their residential community.”

Written by Samara Grossel

Photographed by Ryan Kuna

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