I am a transfer student. I began my freshman year in a school in Ireland, and moved back to Philly before the start of sophomore year, settling into SLA. For all of sophomore year, I lived only about 7 blocks away from the school, making the commute extremely simple. I love the location, but location for this school, I believe, is all about convenience.
The building is falling apart. There are holes in the walls, the ceilings leak, the floors are covered in a thin layer of God-knows what, and we’re missing a fourth floor. The entire building seems to be on its way out, and sometimes I am surprised that the building has not already caved in.
For me, this is a short stop down a long, long road. I’ll spend three years of my life in and out of this building, and then I may never come back. Though it has been a pleasure learning the ins and outs of the halls and rooms, how to get from place to place, where to hide, where to be, etc., I, myself, do not have a particularly strong attachment to the school. My spirit does not live on 22nd and Arch.
However, when I consider the school itself, a bastion of cultures and origins, like a warm little center of Philadelphia, drawing in the fullest diversity of all students, I see the gravity of the building itself. Or maybe not the building, but holding a place in center city, promoting accessibility and possibility for all students, is the power of SLA.
Does the spirit of SLA live on 22nd and Arch? No. Buildings come and go. The spirit of SLA lives in the opportunity it provides its students. Perhaps that exists in center city, or perhaps it can exist elsewhere. However, I believe that, as much as I loved the location, SLA will continue to exist no matter where it is.