Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Franklin & Marshall: A Good Neighbor

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.

I. Improving the Quality of Life in Lancaster

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:

  • Installing automatic locks on all residence hall rooms
  • Installing locks on classroom doors across campus
  • Installing an emergency siren-notification system
  • Creating an emergency text-messaging system
  • Installing a network of closed-circuit cameras along the perimeter of campus
  • Placing emergency phones throughout campus and in adjacent neighborhoods
  • Improving emergency preparedness and response training for the Department of Public Safety

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.

II. Collaboration with Neighbors

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.

III. Amenities for Community Members

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.

  • Shadek-Fackenthal Library holds a collection of more than 500,000 volumes and 400,000 government documents. It also has subscriptions to 1,600 newspapers, journals and magazines. Community members are eligible for library cards.

  • The Phillips Museum of Art, housed in the Steinman College Center, is home to three galleries. The Dana Gallery features solo and group exhibitions by contemporary artists, as well as traveling exhibits. The Rothman Gallery showcases textiles, fraktur, ceramics, metals and glass from the College’s outstanding collection of Pennsylvania folk art. And the Sally Mather Gibson Curriculum Gallery hosts student and faculty exhibitions.

  • The Barshinger Center for Musical Arts in Hensel Hall was designed by one of the world’s pre-eminent acousticians, Lawrence Kierkegaard, and is renowned for its acoustics. It is home to the College Chorus, Chamber Singers, Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Philharmonia and Jazz Ensemble.

  • Students and professional performers alike animate the stage at Roschel Performing Arts Center throughout the academic year. The performance space contains two dance studios and a drama rehearsal stage.

  • The Philadelphia Alumni Writers House (603 College Ave.) is the nexus of the College’s writing community, drawing writers and readers from every corner of campus and the community. It has hosted talks by Pulitzer Prize-winning authors and intimate conversations with emerging writers.

  • The Klehr Center for Jewish Life (645 College Ave.) is the place to explore the academic, religious and social dimensions of Jewish culture. It enriches Jewish life on campus and in the Lancaster community, supports the College’s growing Judaic studies program and offers a place for groups of all faiths and backgrounds to gather for discussions, reading groups and classes.

  • The John Joseph International Center (701 College Ave.) is the focal point for international activities on campus and abroad. The center hosts speakers, foreign film festivals and ethnic meals, all with the intention of exposing the community to international cultures, religions, languages, history and politics.

  • The Keith and Dorothy Spalding Conservancy will be an urban conservancy tucked beyond the athletic fields of Baker Campus. The College has owned the 44-acre site at the end of Vermont Avenue since 1981, but recently decided to convert it into outdoor lab areas for faculty and student research, public-education stations and a small trail system for recreation. Plans also call for expanding the wetlands near the Little Conestoga Creek and building boardwalks within the wetlands. Design work is under way.

  • Community members are welcome to use the College’s outdoor track at Harrisburg and College avenues and Brooks Tennis Center, a lighted, eight-court square adjacent to the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center on Harrisburg Avenue.