Long before Kai the Homeless Alleged Murderer was apprehended at the dingy Greyhound Station in Center City, young commuters have preferred Bolt Bus and Megabus to the grey lady of crappy coach busses. But despite the preponderance of Drexel Dragons who use Mega and Bolt–which dock from JFK Boulevard, behind 30th St. Station–the university is not overly endeared with the busses’ presence.
Drexel owns the land on both the north and south sides of the block. It has big plans for the space, which is currently home to a parking lot and the former offices of newspaper The Philadelphia Bulletin, as part of an “Innovation Neighborhood” to include high-density mixed-use buildings. “As the Innovation Neighborhood takes shape, it is our concern that private bus operators’ current location on JFK Boulevard will deter entrepreneurs and companies from wanting to locate their businesses there,” says Drexel spokesperson Lori Doyle.
Which means that there’s little chance Drexel’s going to erect much-needed shelters (much less an actual station, as in Boston or D.C.) near the bus stops. So we’ll all get wet and hot and bothered. Still, it could be worse: There are always poorly ventilated, ill-regulated shady as hell Chinatown busses. [City Paper]
Philadelphia Magazine‘s Best of Philly issue is on newsstands now, and for those interested in real estate, economic development, and the city’s future, there are some real standout picks in the magazine’s “20 Best Philadelphians.”
Those who kick some serious butt in the Property world? “Retail King” Michael Salove, “Liberators” Post Brothers and “Connector” John Fry. Congrats to those three, as well as the other 17–who are best revealed on printed paper, we assure you.
Read more »
We’re a little bit late to this story, but honestly it reminded us so much of a 1990s stoner movie that we had to share the details. Drexel University, it turns out, has been given a $3.3 million grant to study the effects of medical marijuana on adults ages 18-28.
The study, “Medical Marijuana, Emerging Adults & Community: Connecting Health and Policy,” is being led by Dr. Stephen Lankenau, an associate professor in Drexel’s School of Public Health, who was awarded an R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health for $3.3 million over five years, beginning July 1. Ultimately, Lankenau hopes the study’s findings can guide medical marijuana policies at local, state and national levels to result in the most positive health outcomes for young adults and communities.
“Dispensaries are a relatively new and unusual institution, and they haven’t been studied much,” Lankenau said. One study hypothesis is that dispensaries, which often provide social support in addition to medical marijuana, may provide the basis for better physical and psychological outcomes for medical marijuana users, compared to non-medical users who purchase the drug on the black market.
We can see it now: Higher Medicine, starring Jim Breuer as the bad-boy medical genius who gets a grant to keep the party going for five years! Only he meets a straightlaced hospital administrator played by Christina Applegate, who teaches him responsibility, love, and helps him keep the grant in a climactic contest that shows he’s learning real stuff that will benefit mankind. Which, to be fair, the real study will probably do.
Drexel has tired of its orange-bricked buildings and would now prefer the statelier red that graces Penn’s campus. “You were immediately able to tell when you left the Penn campus,” said [Drexel's vice president for facilities]. “It was cheap and tawdry, a symbol of the old Drexel.”
So they’re busting out the mini-rollers.
It is accomplishing this by equipping workers with miniature paint rollers and dispatching them to coat each offending orange brick, one by one…The work is time-consuming, explained painter Rick Farina, because they are striving to stay within the lines, to avoid staining the grout.
My colleague Tim Haas has his own little motto for the school, which I’ll share now: Drexel University: Close to an Ivy League School. [Inquirer]
Photos: Drexel.edu; UPenn.edu
Signs are always portentous, but in Philadelphia, they’re contentious, too. Neighborhood activists launch vigilante campaigns against bandit-sign advertisers, sending robocalls to their phones and tearing their placards down at night. Local outlets team up to analyze data proving that the billboard industry is rife with corruption and violates zoning regulations. Anti-blight groups fight a war of words with Council over a bill allowing advertising on city property. Even a comparatively small exhibit sign outside the Franklin Institute brings protests at zoning meetings.
Yet the city’s newest, largest, brightest sign—visible from the Schuylkill Expressway or a train coming into 30th Street Station—hasn’t caused a peep. Is it municipal sign fatigue? Or simply the satisfaction of seeing a long-overshadowed institution finally come into its own? Read more »
While consumed with Kevin Ware’s horrific injury and Mike Rice’s abusive behavior, I suspect many of us missed the local NCAA angle: Drexel women’s basketball is on the verge on winning the NIT championship. (The NIT is the tourney for teams that barely missed the NCAA tournament cut-off.) Last night at the DAC, the Dragons dispatched with the University of Florida, and on Saturday will face the winner of the other Final Four semifinal, between Utah and Kansas State. Those schools are bigger and richer than Drexel. But they don’t breathe fire. Or have goofy billboards up on I-95. [Inquirer]
The New York Times profiles the “Dorm Room Fund,” a kind of junior venture capital effort that supplies small grants to entrepreneurial students and Penn and Drexel.
In September, First Round started the Dorm Room Fund, putting $500,000 in the hands of an 11-member investment team of college students from the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. The board has already considered some 200 student-led ventures in the Philadelphia area and selected six for investments averaging $20,000 apiece. The recipients include Firefly, a developer of co-browsing customer support software, and Dagne Dover, a handbag and accessories brand. And starting this spring, First Round is taking the Dorm Room Fund nationwide.
“When we launched in Philadelphia, we asked students to reach out to us if they wanted Dorm Room Fund to come to their cities or schools,” said CeCe Cheng, the fund’s director. “The New York universities had an overwhelming response.”
One benefit of the Dorm Room Fund? The grants it supplies are small enough that nobody is tempted to drop out of school—recipients continue their studies even while attempting to come up with the next big thing. In today’s either-or world, it’s nice to have venture capital with a backup plan.
No, this isn’t some University of Phoenix type pseudodegree. Drexel University’s Earle Macke School of Law is giving students the option to graduate in two years, rather than three. Given rising levels of student debt and law school tuition, this seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, there’s a catch: It won’t actually cost you less. Instead, you’re paying the same price, but forgoing your summer vacation. Sure, you save an extra year of housing costs and get to the job market faster, but the degree may not be all it seems at first glance. [Inquirer]
My office at Drexel is on the corner of 33rd and Chestnut. Seven years ago, when I first started teaching there, I was grateful that the bookstore was in my building, so that I could easily pick up bottled water or a bag of soy crisps on my way in and out of the building. Between that and the plethora of awesome lunch trucks in the neighborhood, I have been satisfied. Read more »
Apparently, this is the week for people named Perelman to make college giving officers super happy. Just days after Ronald Perelman donated $25 million to Penn for a new political science center at 36th and Chestnut, his father, Raymond, has donated $5 million to Drexel University for construction of a campus plaza. “Officials envision Perelman Plaza becoming the university’s primary outdoor social and event space. They plan to break ground this summer,” reports the Enquirer-Herald. “The area is currently a pedestrian mall that has been partially closed due to construction of a new building for Drexel’s business school.” Somewhere, Jeffrey Perelman is lurking waiting to spring a huge donation on a Philadelphia institution of higher learning … unless he’s not.