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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

As I entered my program at Temple for Community Development, we were taught early on about the concept of the third place. In community engagement, we refer to the third place as somewhere beyond the places where we work and live. Rather, the third place is somewhere else entirely. Somewhere we are not expected to meet work or school deadlines, and a place that is not where we live and rest. Instead, these places are neutral territories where we are exempt from these expectations and mandates. In relation to college life, these spaces can exist anywhere outside of work and home, such as a campus coffee shop, the school library, or even the campus quad.   

As we begin to re-enter a post-pandemic world, that has in many ways drastically changed since 2020, it is crucial to identify these third places and implement them into our daily lives and routines. Online learning prompted many college students to develop habits of learning and engaging in work within the confines of their rooms and homes. While this habit persisted, rooms, which were once places of rest and relaxation, soon became synonymous with schoolwork and zoom-school. This constant blur of boundaries thus led many students to feel burnt out by the constant cycle and blend of work time and rest time.  

Now that students are back on campus, and the majority of classes are being held in person, students should seek to break the habits they developed during zoom-school, and find ways to separate their boundaries for work, rest, and other activities. Identifying the third place, somewhere they can work on schoolwork beyond the classroom and beyond one’s room, can ease the burden of entering back into college life.  

After coming back to campus, I have been able to identify my personal third place (with trial and error of course). But what might work for me, might not work for everyone, as the third place depends on the person and what places make them feel most at ease. Temple University has a plethora of buildings and environments that can function as neutral territory or third places for students, including: Saxby’s, the Student Center, Mazur Rooftop, Charles, or the Tech Center. These third places can essentially exist anywhere, it’s just up to you to find what works!  

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Faith Walter

Temple '24

Temple University 2024 Community Development and Sustainable Food Systems