Franklin & Marshall College understands that its welfare is inextricably linked to the well-being of the larger community. Lancaster’s strengths and challenges profoundly affect the campus and its students, while the College enhances its surrounding neighborhoods and the city.
The College has worked with our many community partners to create attractive, safe neighborhoods where students, faculty and staff now live. The result has been a more stable community that affords residents and students a higher quality of life.
In 2003 Franklin & Marshall became a founding partner in the James Street Improvement District, or JSID. The mission of the district, which initially represented the College, Lancaster General Hospital and a consortium of community members and local businesses, was to build safe, clean and vibrant neighborhoods in the northwest sector of Lancaster. In 2007, the JSID joined forces with Lancaster Downtown Investment District Authority, a larger nonprofit organization that shares JSID’s goals of developing the businesses and communities of greater Lancaster. The College continues to provide the organization with substantial financial support.
In 2006 the Franklin & Marshall College Board of Trustees approved a four-year residency policy requiring all students to live in College-approved facilities throughout their enrollment. To create the beds needed, the College teamed up with private developers to build housing for juniors and seniors—College Row, College Hill and James Street Properties. The collaboration has given the College better oversight of safety issues (smoke detectors, sprinklers, emergency egress) and minor behavior issues (garbage cans left on curb, noise disturbances, snow and leaf removal). All students living off campus must sign a contract stating they will live under College-approved codes of behavior, as well as the laws and ordinances of the City of Lancaster. Students living in Greek housing have additional regulations—rules regarding serving alcohol at parties, for example. The Dean of the College takes disciplinary action, when necessary.
Since 2006 Franklin & Marshall College has invested more than $3 million to keep its students safe—on campus and in the surrounding community. Among the steps the College has taken to enhance safety are:
Franklin & Marshall’s 18 public safety officers are sworn by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and, within two years, will be certified by Municipal Police Training Act 120, which, among other things, requires officers to undergo 750 hours of instruction and training. The Department of Public Safety also is in the process of being accredited by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association. Only a handful of colleges and universities in the state have earned accreditation.
Homeownership is one of the surest and most effective ways to build a sense of pride and community in a neighborhood. The College’s City Life program makes it easier for College employees to buy and renovate homes in the Northwest neighborhood adjacent to the College. The College partners with a Lancaster County bank to offer low-interest rates and extra cash to help with closing costs. Since 2004 the College has invested $657,000 in the program.
Franklin & Marshall’s shuttle service helps keep our students safe, provides our students with access to the city and area attractions, cuts down on student noise in our neighborhood and reduces traffic congestion on local city streets. The shuttles make 19 stops on and around campus. They operate seven days a week and make runs as late as 3 a.m. In 2009-10, shuttle ridership was 28,430.
One evening a month a consortium of 18 Northwest neighbors, business owners, nonprofit professionals and Franklin & Marshall administrators meets at James Street Mennonite Church to discuss issues of importance to all constituents. Among other tasks, the neighbors are asked to provide the College with feedback on current and planned projects and to offer ways for the College and local communities to meet and learn from one another. On the group’s behalf, the College publishes a bimonthly newsletter that is sent to 4,000 residences and businesses in the Northwest neighborhood.
The Franklin & Marshall website has a portal specifically for neighbors. It contains links to, among other things, upcoming campus events and updates on community projects. The College encourages all neighbors to follow it on Facebook and Twitter.
Franklin & Marshall’s Emergency Alert is an instant, mass-notification system that lets neighbors receive updates and alerts on cell phones and smart phones, via email and through personal Web pages, such as Google and Yahoo. The College’s goal is to keep everyone on and around campus as safe and secure as possible. In the unlikely scenario of a lockdown or emergency evacuation, those signed up for alerts receive instructions.
Community members are welcome to attend any of the hundred-plus public lectures, art exhibitions, dances, musical performances and theater productions the College sponsors every academic year. The full list is on our Encore website.