In my freshman year, I lived in the infamous Kelly Hall. Then in my sophomore year, I moved to Summit, and after that, I was in Chestnut Square during junior year. For senior year, I’ve made the transition away from the University City campus to the Center City Campus with a move to Stiles Alumni Hall.
They say first impressions are everything, and my first impressions of Stiles were actually pretty good. I’m, by nature, a pretty reserved fellow, and I’ve never subscribed to the busy University City campus lifestyle where there are always a ton of people out and about during the day. For example, getting in and out of Summit on some days was just an absolute nightmare. Not to pick on Summit, but for as nice as it was, there were some things about it that I certainly don’t miss.
The main thing I do not miss is its location. Being directly in the center of campus where there was a constant rotation of people going to and from class, combined with people just walking by to get from point A to point B, made it crowded. And I know the struggle of move-in day. Despite having plenty of elevators, some people always resort to taking the stairs on move-in day because if they wait for the elevators, they’ll never get all of their stuff moved in within a reasonable amount of time.
Now, compare this to Stiles, where there were next to no people on move-in day, and I hardly see people on a regular basis around here. When I leave to go to class, I’m lucky if I see two or three other students besides myself, and I love it. I am by no means a guy who dislikes people, but I think I’ve just become tired of the insane number of people that are present on the main campus.
However, I’ve noticed that this lack of people also comes with a bit of a cost. The Center City campus is essentially just Stiles, the School of Health Sciences and Humanities Building and the bookstore. That’s really all there is to it. Yes, I know that there are other buildings as well, but those three are really the only ones that you will probably recognize if you take a look at the map on Drexel’s website. It’s pretty barebones, and because it’s barebones and the Drexel student population is scarce, there’s also no public safety. The most I’ve seen is a few public safety officers inside of the health sciences building, but it’s minimal and not good enough in my opinion.
Now you may be thinking that there’s no point in public safety patrolling a few blocks, but I beg to differ in this case. It’s certainly not the most dangerous area in Philly, far from it; however, the fact that it’s not an especially dangerous area is not a good reason to have little public safety. After all, the main campus isn’t that dangerous of an area when compared to other parts of Philly. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of public safety on the campus at all times, and their presence is pretty apparent regardless of the time of day.
There is also a natural flow of students going to and from the Center City campus via the Drexel Shuttle, which picks up and drops students off right in front of the bookstore every 15 or so minutes. And again, I’m not trying to give the impression that the Center City campus is super dangerous, or that there are always shady characters hanging out around the bookstore, because that’s just not the case. But it can still be an unsettling feeling to walk from the bus stop to Stiles late at night, and it only takes a few seconds for something bad to happen. If you’re aware of your surroundings, then you’ll generally be fine, but I would like to see some level of public safety at least at night, even if it’s only two or three people that hangout between Stiles, the health sciences building and the bookstore.
Despite all of this, I can’t say that I was really expecting public safety on the Center City campus to begin with. Stiles is about as far out as you can get from the main campus while still living in Drexel housing, but it’s only available to upperclassmen and graduate students. This makes sense when you consider the fact that upperclassmen and graduate students have been in the college lifestyle for a while and are far better equipped to live in a place far removed from the main campus. Regardless, public safety would still be nice.
Additionally, it would be really nice if the Drexel shuttle ran on Saturday and Sunday. I fully understand that the drivers need days off just like everyone else, and I wouldn’t want them to have to start working all weekend by any means. However, if there were people specifically assigned to work on weekends, it would make it a lot easier to get from the Center City campus to the University City campus. And no, the bus does not need to run every fifteen minutes, I realize that would probably be asking for too much. I would be perfectly content if it ran every hour from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., and then 5 p.m. until midnight. That would be ideal in my opinion.
Although this is just an idea that I would love to see become a reality at some point in the future, it’s not something that I think needs to happen this instant. The fact that we have dedicated shuttles that run frequently from morning until night on weekdays is already pretty great. Weekend shuttles would simply be the icing on the cake.
This is what I’ve observed in my first three weeks of living on Center City campus. I’m definitely enjoying the quieter and less busy lifestyle, but as with all things, I think there is always room for improvement.