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   Space & Place
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Connections, Space & Place
Section 1: Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
    n The role of sense of place in building community. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 2
    n Looking ahead to a post-pandemic future. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 4

Section 2: Understanding Sense of Place and its Significance in Higher Education. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
    n What is “sense of place”?.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 5
    n Elements of a sense of place on campus .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 6

Section 3: Opportunities Created by a New Focus on Sense of Place. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
    n Opportunities for the institution. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 8
    n Opportunities for the facilities management organization .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 10

Section 4: Addressing Changing Space Needs and Requirements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
    n Responding to changing space needs and requirements .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 12
    n Facilities management strategies to address changing space needs and requirements.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 13

Section 5: Questions for Campus Discussion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Section 6: Reflecting on the State of Higher Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
    n The big picture in the summer of 2021. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 21
    n Specific challenges facing North American institutions.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 23
    n Strengths and successes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Section 7: Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

Appendix A: Bibliography/Resources. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Appendix B: Participants at the 2021 Thought Leaders Symposium. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
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Section 1:
Executive Summary

     he COVID-19 pandemic hit colleges and
     universities like a bolt from the blue, and more    Data Point:
     than a year into the pandemic, members of           Enrollment Declines
the higher education community have been left
                                                         Short-term declines could have long-
exhausted. Nevertheless, moments of optimism are
breaking through, because it seems the worst of the
                                                         term consequences
pandemic is over.                                        One of the most potentially devastating
                                                         impacts of the pandemic is the decline in
The year has been inexpressibly painful, especially      enrollment. Undergraduate enrollment
for those who were sickened by the disease or who        dropped by 5.9 percent in the spring of 2021
lost family, friends, and colleagues. Institutions       across all institution types, according to the
                                                         National Student Clearinghouse Research
have also been battered, and higher education has
                                                         Center. Incoming freshmen were the hardest
taken one hit after another. As of this writing, 10      hit, with 16.1 percent fewer enrolled in the fall          TLS
colleges or universities have closed or announced        2020.                                                       1
their closure in 2020 and 2021, according to data
                                                         The implications of this decline could ripple
compiled by Higher Ed Dive.                              through institutions, since students who fail to
                                                         enroll in higher education immediately after
This is devastating news to those institutions.          graduating from high school are less likely to
However, the situation was predicted to be much          ever enroll or complete a degree.
worse. Experts writing in The Chronicle of Higher
Education, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes in the
                                                        what the circumstances. Institutions made an im-
spring of 2020 warned that between 100 and 250
                                                        plicit promise to their students: Stick with us, and
colleges and universities would shut their doors
                                                        we will be together again. Students responded by
permanently; John Kroger, former president of
                                                        continuing to enroll even when hours of Zoom
Reed College, predicted in Inside Higher Ed that
                                                        were the last thing they wanted, even when they
the number would reach between 750 and 1,000
                                                        were holed up in their childhood bedrooms or resi-
institutions. And yet, while the situation may still
                                                        dence hall rooms with inadequate Wi-Fi.
worsen, as of this writing most have survived—
despite the pandemic, despite the truly harrowing
                                                        That students remained loyal is a testament to the
financial situation many found themselves in, with
                                                        deep bonds colleges and universities have forged
declining enrollments and slashed state budgets.
                                                        with their communities and spaces. One might
                                                        argue that a walk to a class, an interaction with
How did they endure? They did the one thing that
                                                        a faculty member, or a resting place on the quad,
everyone said higher education was incapable of
                                                        whether offered by a local community college, a
doing: They changed.
                                                        flagship state research university, a small private
                                                        liberal arts college, or a for-profit private university,
They adapted to the pandemic in ways no one had
                                                        can provide a meaningful sense of place. If that
thought possible. College and university faculty,
                                                        were true, then why not shop around and enroll in
staff, and leadership renewed their deep commit-
                                                        the cheapest class? Space matters, and the feeling
ment to their students and found ways to continue
                                                        of place matters as well. During the pandemic,
educating and serving these students no matter
                                                        students demonstrated their commitment to their
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                                                            their students have placed in them. The tasks ahead
       Data Point:                                          are daunting. But institutions can build on what
       Innovation in a time of crisis                       has allowed them to get this far: They can build
                                                            on the sense of community that has united the
       Some colleges and universities are
       embracing change to adapt in the
       aftermath of COVID-19                                The role of sense of place in
       Inspired by the motto “never let a crisis            building community
       go to waste,” some institutions of higher
       education are pushing through innovations
                                                            What is the role of the facilities organization in
       that would have been a hard sell in less tumul-      meeting today’s challenges? In part, facilities ex-
       tuous times, reports Jon Marcus in an article        perts will continue the essential work they have
       produced for The Hechinger Report and run            done since the start of the pandemic: They will
       by the PBS NewsHour.                                 keep the campus safe and operational. But the fa-
       Marcus notes that institutions have “made            cilities organization can do more—more, in fact,
       big moves during the pandemic. Some have             than most institutions realize. They can help their
       acquired smaller, more vulnerable schools,           college or university foster community by leverag-
       increasing their enrollment and widening             ing its sense of place.
       their offerings in ways they hope will better
       position them in the intensifying competition
                                                            “Sense of place” is defined by one expert as “the
       for new students. Several have collaborated
       to find new streams of income, including by
                                                            feelings evoked among people as a result of the
 2     offering more kinds of nondegree creden-             experiences and memories they associate with a
       tials.”                                              place and the symbolism they attach to that place.”
                                                            Meaningful places can come to represent an entire
       For example, Marcus points to a joint program
       administered by Parsons School of Design at          institution, including its history, its values, and its
       the New School and New York University’s             legacy. A strong sense of place can arise naturally,
       Tisch School of the Arts, which offers short,        but it can also be consciously, carefully cultivated.
       online versions of full-fledged courses on           This is possible for any institution, no matter
       practical subjects. These courses produce            its age or classification. Historic campuses with
       revenue for the institutions while students try      well-established places and traditions may find this
       out the schools and earn certificates.
                                                            process easier, but even new campuses and recently
       “If you look at any business, any industry,          established institutions can foster a sense of place.
       we’re all having to rethink how we do things,”       Colleges and universities should look for the places
       said Anne Adriance, senior vice president            where the community naturally gathers—a quad,
       for marketing and business development at
                                                            a fountain, a lounge, a stairway—and take steps to
       Parsons. Higher education, she said, is “an
       industry that needed to make changes, and            make that place welcoming and accessible.
       like any terrible crisis, [the pandemic] forces
       changes that should have been happening              Participants in the 2021 Thought Leaders sympo-
       anyway to happen faster.”                            sium considered the meaning of sense of place on
          — Jon Marcus, “For Some Colleges, COVID-19        campus and suggested that significant places play
              ‘Accelerated Innovation’ in How to Adapt,”    the following roles:
                  PBS NewsHour, December 29, 2020.
                                                            ■ Welcoming environments for students, faculty,
                                                              staff, families, and the surrounding community.
      college or university community and their deep
      sense of belonging to their institutions.
                                                            ■ Extending this welcome with intentionality to
                                                              those from different backgrounds, socioeco-
      Today, as colleges and universities look forward to
                                                              nomic groups, and demographics.
      their second fall semester since COVID-19 hit the
      campus, it is incumbent on them to honor the trust
                                                            ■ Conveying meaning to the campus community
                                                              about the values of the institution.
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■ Generating emotions, creating memories, and          ties meet their current challenges. They proposed
  promoting a sense of community.                      that iconic places or campus symbols could bring
                                                       the following benefits:
■ Promoting connections and encouraging
  learning and self-discovery.                         ■ Improve the competitive position of the
                                                         institution and enhance its brand.
Participants then considered the ways that a focus
on sense of place could help colleges and universi-    ■ Ensure students’ sense of belonging.

 Data Point:
 Lasting consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic to the built environment
 Ways the campus has changed—forever
 A March 2021 article in The Chronicle of                Student services, libraries, and
 Higher Education identified five aspects                administrators’ offices
 of the campus that experts predict will be              “Where real estate is at a premium, colleges
 permanently transformed by the COVID-19                 have moved non-student-facing functions to
 pandemic. Here’s a summary of their findings:           the edges of campus, or even off campus.
                                                         . . . The result is space freed at the heart of
                                                         campus for student services.”                      TLS
 “In an atmosphere of scarcity, institutions will
 examine closely whether they’re making the              Residence Halls                                     3
 most out of their physical spaces and face-             “Many experts say there’s long been a trend
 to-face time. ‘We’re going to go into every             toward more privacy and single rooms. ‘It was
 room and we’re going to say, “Is meaningful             driven by consumer demand,’ said Frankie
 connection going to happen in this space? Is            Minor, housing director at the University of
 something going to happen in this space that            Rhode Island. . . .
 cannot happen online, that cannot happen
                                                         “In addition, colleges that find themselves
 at Starbucks?”’ said Shannon Dowling, an
                                                         serving more-diverse students may also want
 architect with the firm Ayers Saint Gross. If
                                                         more single rooms. ‘There are students with
 the answer’s no, the next question is whether
                                                         learning differences. There are students with
 the space is worth keeping.”
                                                         different medical conditions, mental-health
 Faculty offices                                         conditions,’ said Dennis Lynch, an architect at
 “Many campus planners have long advocated               Ayers Saint Gross who specializes in housing
 for fewer traditional, individual, closed-door          and dining. ‘Singles help give flexibility to be
 offices, and more shared workspaces for                 able to accommodate students with a variety
 faculty and staff members, like what many               of needs.’”
 private companies have. . . .
                                                         Outdoor spaces
 “On average, 19 percent of campuses’                    “There is one post-pandemic change in space
 indoor square footage is dedicated to                   use that campus planners see as an unmit-
 offices, according to a 2007 survey (the                igated improvement: COVID-19 has pushed
 latest available) of 276 institutions that are          colleges to make greater use of their wide
 members of the Society for College and                  green lawns, quads, and terraces. . . .
 University Planning. (Only housing, at 20
                                                         “Several colleges ordered tents so faculty
 percent, commands a larger area.) Using that
                                                         members could teach outside. Most of those
 much space more efficiently could make a big
                                                         came down as fall turned into winter, but
 difference to a college’s bottom line.”
                                                         across the country, in varied climates, admin-
                                                         istrators have made improvements in their
                                                         grounds that they say they’re glad to keep.”
                    — Francie Diep, “The Pandemic May Have Permanently Altered Campuses. Here’s How.”
                                                      The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 15, 2021.
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      ■ Strengthen the bond between the institution and        ■ Target improvements to the residential
        its alumni and surrounding community.                    experience.

      ■ Become more welcoming and inclusive.                   ■ Reconsider space needs for faculty and staff in
                                                                 light of remote/hybrid work.
      ■ Create a safer, healthier campus.
                                                               ■ Support online learning in new and different
      ■ Improve the residential experience.                      ways.

      ■ Expand the flexibility and adaptability of campus      ■ Adapt spaces to meet the needs and changing
        operations.                                              expectations of a more diverse population.

      Attention to place will also aid the facilities or-      ■ Reduce the campus inventory of less desirable
      ganization by increasing the awareness of campus           buildings and grounds that are no longer needed.
      spaces and raising their priority, strengthening col-
      laborations built during the pandemic, improving         Facilities organizations will also need to pay par-
      responsiveness and customer service quality, and         ticular attention to the health of their buildings,
      demonstrating the relevance, contributions, and ex-      review and modify space standards, reconsider their
      pertise of senior facilities officers and their staff.   master plan, and further adapt to a reduced physical
                                                               infrastructure if necessary.
TLS   A critical requirement for institutions focusing on
 4    sense of place will be to address changing space         Looking ahead to a post-pandemic
      needs and requirements. Most colleges and uni-           future
      versities closed their campuses for at least some
      part of 2020, and a significant amount of space          The pandemic has changed higher education in
      remains unused or underutilized today. Institutions      ways no one could have fully imagined, anticipated,
      will need to determine how their space needs have        and eventually appreciated. Although the road
      changed in the past 18 months and how they in-           ahead will be rocky and full of uncertainty, higher
      tend to use their space going forward. Key steps         education must continue to pivot and reinvent
      anticipated by participants at the Thought Leaders       itself. This community has much greater capacity
      symposium include the following:                         for change and innovation than it realized. Fur-
                                                               thermore, the importance of the college experience
      ■ Increase the flexibility of all spaces.                remains high, and institutions can draw upon that
                                                               brand loyalty to address the challenges ahead by
      ■ Enable better use of outdoor spaces.                   investing in and leveraging the sense of place on
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Section 2:
Understanding Sense of Place and its Significance in
Higher Education
What is “sense of place”?                                Colleges and universities were ahead of the
                                                         game, since they have a long history of seeking
Academic experts who study the intersection of
                                                         to reflect their values and ideals in their campus
physical space and human psychology have tried
                                                         designs. Thomas Jefferson designed the University
to nail down a definition of “sense of place.” The
                                                         of Virginia to embody his philosophy of education,
Dictionary of Human Geography defines sense of
                                                         according to architectural historian Paul Hardin
place as “the attitudes and feelings that individuals
                                                         Kapp. The campus housed faculty and students
and groups hold vis-à-vis the geographical areas
                                                         in buildings designed on the principles of Classi-
in which they live. [The term] further commonly
                                                         cal architecture and surrounding a central Lawn,
suggests intimate, personal and emotional relation-
                                                         envisioned as a place where knowledge could be
ships between self and place.” Another academic
                                                         exchanged by all—what Jefferson called the “Ac-          TLS
source, Human Geography: Places and Regions in
                                                         ademical Village.” At the northeast end of the            5
Global Context, describes sense of place as “the
                                                         Lawn is the Rotunda, originally the campus library,
feelings evoked among people as a result of the
                                                         pointing to the significance of human knowledge
experiences and memories they associate with
                                                         and its origins in Europe to the east. The southwest
a place and the symbolism they attach to that
                                                         end offers a panoramic view of the mountains,
place.” According to Jennifer D. Adams, professor
                                                         pointing to the intellectual frontiers open to discov-
of education at the University of Calgary, “Sense of
                                                         ery as well as the nation’s destiny, as Jefferson saw
place is the lens through which people experience
                                                         it, to settle the West.
and make meaning of their experiences in and with
                                                         As the nation grew and new colleges and univer-
                                                         sities were established, institutions continued to
Human beings have always appreciated sense of
                                                         make design choices that communicated their val-
place—think of Machu Picchu, Giza, Angkor Wat,
                                                         ues. Many campuses were built in Gothic Revival
or Stonehenge. The modern study of sense of place
                                                         styles to evoke the medieval universities of Europe;
began in the mid-1960s, when journalists, activists,
                                                         other institutions preferred a Jeffersonian-in-
and academics such as Jane Jacobs began criticiz-
                                                         spired Colonialism to emphasize their American
ing urban renewal, as it was then practiced, on the
                                                         ideals. When Modern architecture arrived on the
grounds that it did not respect the lives and needs
                                                         scene in the mid-twentieth century, universities
of those who lived in targeted cities. While initially
                                                         commissioned sometimes startling Brutalist or
focused on sense of place in urban areas, the study
                                                         International Style buildings to demonstrate their
of place soon expanded to every variety of location.
                                                         progressivism and willingness to embrace the
Sociologists and geographers began systemically
studying how humans interact with spaces and
analyzing what makes some places feel warm and
                                                         Today, institutions have an opportunity to reflect
inviting, others nondescript and “placeless,” and
                                                         their values in a new way: to enhance existing
others even hostile and dangerous. Architects and
                                                         spaces so that they better serve students, faculty,
planners translated these findings into practical
                                                         and staff; to provide a safe, welcoming, academ-
design strategies and public engagement techniques
                                                         ically engaging environment; to create lasting
for creating and enhancing public spaces.
                                                         memories; and to strengthen bonds between indi-
                                                         viduals and the institution.
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                                                               economic groups, and demographics. Just
       Data Point:                                             because a space welcomes one group does not
       The value of the higher education                       automatically make it feel safe for all. Colleges
       experience                                              and universities need to ensure that they practice
       The value of meaningful spaces on                       what is known as inclusive design, a process that
                                                               seeks to ensure that public spaces are accessible
                                                               and welcoming to the entire community. At the
       “Colleges and universities should never                 same time, institutions should offer spaces that
       underestimate the power of special, trans-              offer respite and support community building
       formational, and even sacred spaces on their            to members of marginalized groups, including
       campuses. Such spaces help create lasting               meeting spaces for cultural clubs, religious orga-
       relationships between students and insti-               nizations, and other affinity groups.
       tutions, but too often colleges overlook the
       influential role that campus landscape can
       play. . . .                                          ■ Conveys meaning to the campus community
                                                              about the values of the institution. The most
       “Such transformational places with unique
                                                              iconic campus places carry enormous signifi-
       emotional resonance have an almost sacred
       nature. The word ‘religious’ comes from
                                                              cance for their communities and often reflect
       the Latin verb religare, meaning to bind or            the values of their institutions. For example, the
       reconnect. Thus, anything that reconnects us           Military Walk at Texas A&M is more than just a
       is, inherently, a deeply personal or spiritual         sidewalk; as the location where Aggies assembled
       experience that has great meaning—and                  every morning when all students were required
TLS    the university campus is ripe with opportu-            to serve in the Corps of Cadets, it evokes the
 6     nities for people to reconnect. So where are
                                                              institution’s military heritage. The “Word of
       these transformational or sacred spaces on
       campuses, and how do we define them?”
                                                              Life” mural on the wall of the Hesburgh Library
                                                              at University of Notre Dame doesn’t just show
              — Earl Broussard, “The Power of Place on        Jesus Christ with his arms outstretched; it rep-
            Campus,” The Chronicle of Higher Education,
                                                              resents to the campus community not only the
                                          May 1, 2009.
                                                              institution’s Roman Catholic heritage but also its
                                                              dedication to football, since the figure faces the
      Elements of a sense of place on                         football stadium and seems to be calling a touch-
                                                              down (hence its nickname, “Touchdown Jesus.”)
                                                              Powerful places have layers of meaning for their
      Participants at the Thought Leaders symposium           communities.
      were asked to consider what sense of place means
      to higher education. They identified these key fac-   ■ Generates emotions, creates memories, and
      tors as being part of meaningful places on campus:      promotes a sense of community. Truly iconic
                                                              campus places can bring alumni to tears. These
      ■ Welcomes students, faculty, staff, families,          places host rites of passage—how many people
        and the surrounding community. Some places            plan wedding proposals at beloved campus land-
        are unwelcoming by design—think of a prison,          marks?—and mark key moments in the lives
        where every element of the design shouts, “Stay       of community members. Rituals become tradi-
        away!” Other places are hostile by accident. Col-     tions that can last across generations. For more
        leges and universities need to be deliberate and      than 90 years, every student preparing for final
        intentional about making their spaces safe and        exams at the University of California Berkeley
        welcoming, conveying through technology,              has heard the carillon in the Campanile play
        signage, architecture, lighting, and design that      the mournful Rudyard Kipling ballad “They’re
        the community should consider this place              Hangin’ Danny Deever in the Mornin’.”
        their own.                                            Whether they graduated 5 years ago or 50 years
                                                              ago, members of the Berkeley community share
      ■ Extends this welcome with intentionality              this experience, and it serves as a powerful bond
        to those from different backgrounds, socio-           across time.
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■ Promotes connections and encourages learn-
  ing and self-discovery. Different iconic places     Data Point:
  will play different roles on campus. The football   Building design and institutional
  stadium or basketball arena can have enormous       values
  significance for many colleges and universities,    Begin with ideals rather than
  representing one side of campus life. However,
  many of the most significant places incorporate
  learning and idea exchange, including libraries,    “When colleges and universities begin
  classroom buildings, and research labs. Some        thinking about adding or replacing buildings
  spaces may be meaningful to smaller groups          on campus, I recommend that they start with
  of people rather than the entire campus. Keep       words.
  in mind sites such as the study room for the        “While it’s tempting to begin picturing the
  pre-med students, the lounge for the English        actual building (‘It should be three stories and
  graduate students, the maker space for the engi-    we want lots of glass,’ or something similar)
  neers, or the auditorium lobby for the music and    start by asking how the building relates to
                                                      your institutional values and mission. What
  theater majors. Institutions should recognize the
                                                      does it need to say or express about the
  value of these smaller spaces, which are no less    university or a particular college? How should
  sacred to the community that loves them.            the space feel? When students approach the
                                                      building and enter it, what words should
                                                      describe their first impression? What will
                                                      students feel empowered to do in this space?”
                                                          — Michael Tyre, “Building the Brand: How the    7
                                                          Physical Campus Shapes Student Experience
                                                        (Even During a Pandemic),” New England Board
                                                              of Higher Education, September 1, 2020.
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      Section 3:
      Opportunities Created by a New Focus on Sense of Place
      Opportunities for the institution                         relationships. For example, research reported
                                                                in the journal Social Psychology of Education re-
      Participants at the Thought Leaders symposium
                                                                veals what we all intuitively know: that alumni
      believe that focusing on sense of place creates op-
                                                                with a strong sense of belonging are more likely
      portunities for the entire institution—opportunities
                                                                to donate, return to the institution for further
      that will help the college or university during this
                                                                education, serve on advisory boards, provide
      time of uncertainty and upheaval.
                                                                internships, act as mentors, and more. Similarly,
                                                                an institution that works to strengthen bonds
      Thought Leaders participants proposed the follow-
                                                                with the community will be able to draw on
      ing benefits of a focus on sense of place:
                                                                that community’s goodwill in making decisions
                                                                about the future of the institution while creating
      ■ Improves the competitive position of the
                                                                increased opportunities for internships and jobs
        institution and enhances its brand. Compe-
TLS                                                             for students.
        tition is going to be fierce in the coming years,
 8      especially as the effect of changing demograph-
                                                             ■ Becomes more welcoming and inclusive. By
        ics kicks in and the pool of potential students
                                                               demonstrating to an increasingly diverse stu-
        shrinks. (See the 2020 Thought Leaders report
                                                               dent population that the institution sees them
        Preparing for the Student of 2024 and the Nathan
                                                               and is listening to what they have to say, the
        Grawe book The Agile College: How Institutions
                                                               college or university will forge tighter bonds
        Successfully Navigate Demographic Changes.)
                                                               with these students. The same research study
        Institutions that succeed in fostering a strong
                                                               quoted earlier, “College Students’ Sense of Be-
        community rooted in unique and beloved places
                                                               longing: A National Perspective,” revealed that
        will stand out among those that present a more
                                                               underrepresented ethnic minority students and
        generic experience.
                                                               first-generation students report a lower sense
                                                               of belonging than white students or continu-
      ■ Ensures students feel they belong. Students
                                                               ing-generation students. Other research noted in
        who feel a strong sense of belonging toward
                                                               the Inside Higher Ed article shows that first-gen-
        their institution are more likely to persist with
                                                               eration students lag behind in resiliency and
        their education and earn a degree, according to
                                                               social comfort. Improving the sense of belonging
        multiple studies and articles, including “Col-
                                                               and connection to the institution will be criti-
        lege Students’ Sense of Belonging: A National
                                                               cal to improving retention among this cohort.
        Perspective,” published in Inside Higher Ed.
                                                               Adapting spaces and creating new, targeted
        Students who feel a sense of belonging also show
                                                               spaces will be a powerful step toward meeting
        improved health outcomes, report fewer mental
                                                               this goal.
        health issues, and engage more with campus
        services. One critical way to show students they
                                                             ■ Creates a safer, healthier campus. In the last
        belong is to foster their connection with iconic
                                                               few decades, the conversation about safety on
        campus spaces.
                                                               campus has focused on physical safety from
                                                               threats posed by active shooters. Thought Lead-
      ■ Strengthens the bond between the institution
                                                               ers participants believe the conversation will
        and its alumni and surrounding community.
                                                               now shift to include more concern about safety
        The benefits of a strong sense of belonging and
                                                               from pathogens. The result will be a campus
        connection extend to alumni and community
                                                               with fresher air, cleaner surfaces, and improved
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   HVAC systems—and, ultimately, a healthier             ■ Foster interactions between members of the
   academic community. At the same time, an                campus community. One magical thing about
   increased focus on the role of space in mental          the higher education campus is that it promotes
   health has the potential to improve the well-be-        serendipitous interactions. Faculty from one
   ing of the community. Places that provide views         discipline exchange theories with faculty from
   of or exposure to nature promote well-being,            another discipline. Students in engineering share
   Sullivan and Chang note, as do places that are          ideas with students in education. Librarians
   attractive, well-maintained, and safe, and that         learn from IT experts. These connections are al-
   provide appropriate contact with other people.          most impossible to create in online interactions,
   Institutions that employ deliberate, well-consid-       but a thoughtfully and deliberately designed
   ered design can improve not only the physical           physical campus can facilitate such cross-campus
   health of those on campus but also their mental         moments.
                                                         Another way to consider these opportunities is to
■ Improves the residential experience. The               take a quick look back at the list of the top chal-
  pandemic revealed both the limitations and the         lenges facing higher education identified in Section
  strengths of the residential higher education          6. How can a focus on sense of place help address
  experience. A survey from American Campus              these challenges?
  Communities as reported in Inside Higher Ed
  found that students living in on- or near-campus       ■ Financial pressures. Institutions can make
  housing in the fall of 2020 did better academ-           more effective use of existing space resources.       TLS
  ically and socially than those living at home.           Underutilized space should be discarded or re-         9
  These students experienced fewer Internet                programmed to more cost-effective use, thereby
  connectivity problems, avoided negative home             leveraging space to improve recruitment and
  environments, and had fewer challenges finding           retention.
  places to study. They also benefited from inter-
  action with their peers and felt a greater sense       ■ Inequities in funding, access, and resources
  of community and connection to the institu-              for students, families, and institutions. Col-
  tion. On the other hand, residence halls across          leges and universities can make their spaces more
  North America have seen outbreaks of disease,            welcoming and create spaces that specifically
  and sometimes entire campuses had to flip to             support underserved populations.
  online-only learning when the rate of infection
  grew too high. On balance, much of this had to         ■ Increased competition to attract students.
  do with off-campus events that institutions were         Better spaces provide a competitive advantage
  unable to control, but the consequences occurred         for colleges and universities and help institutions
  nonetheless. Safer building design can limit             differentiate themselves from one another.
  disease spread, for example. Providing both the
  space and the technology to better integrate dig-      ■ Adapting to rapidly changing demographics.
  ital learning with in-person instruction for those       Iconic spaces targeted to all audiences will im-
  living on campus will increase the flexibility and       prove the sense of belonging among different
  attractiveness of residence halls.                       socioeconomic and ethnic groups.

■ Expands the flexibility and adaptability of            ■ Increased focus on mental health and mental
  campus operations. Institutions need to re-              health services. Healthier spaces benefit not
  main nimble in the aftermath of COVID-19.                only the physical but also the mental health of
  Any steps that campus employees can take to              the campus community.
  streamline their operations while expanding their
  flexibility and adaptability will serve their insti-   ■ Changing space needs and requirements. In-
  tutions well.                                            creased flexibility allows the institution to adapt
                                                           to changing needs and pivot to truly reimagine
A P P A           T H O U G H T                  L E A D E R S         S E R I E S              2 0 2 1

         its space. Revised space standards and design       benefit from an increased focus on sense of place.
         goals will support the new paradigm.                Participants at the Thought Leaders symposium
                                                             identified the following ways facilities profession-
      ■ Negative perception of higher education.             als would be well-served by this approach in the
        Healthy spaces and adaptive institutions can         post-pandemic institution:
        counteract negative concerns about the campus
        community.                                           ■ Raise the priority of campus spaces to the en-
                                                               tire institution. In the words of Joni Mitchell,
      Opportunities for the facilities                         “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone,”
      management organization                                  and that was true of campus space during the
                                                               pandemic. Faculty and staff who had taken the
      While providing opportunities for the entire             campus for granted suddenly realized all of the
      institution, facilities professionals also stand to      roles it played in their lives and in the life of the
                                                               community when they were barred from the
       Data Point:                                             grounds.
       Campus closures and student
       experiences                                           ■ Strengthen collaborations and partnerships
                                                               built during the pandemic. Facilities operations
       The impact of college and university
                                                               were called upon to work closely with health
       closures on student sense of                            professionals, residence hall staff, IT specialists,
       belonging                                               and student services in new and demanding yet
10     “Irrespective of students’ physical location,           more collaborative ways in the last year and a
       student events and experiences, including               half. The partnerships established were instru-
       study abroad trips, internships, and grad-              mental to our collective success and will continue
       uation ceremonies, have been cancelled,                 to benefit the entire institution if carefully main-
       indefinitely postponed, or moved to virtual             tained, managed, and leveraged.
       formats, leaving many students despondent
       that their personal and professional mile-
                                                             ■ Improve responsiveness and customer service
       stones have been left unfulfilled. Ordinary
       activities central to the collegiate experience         quality. Facilities management operations were
       such as class trips and service learning, partic-       tried and tested during the pandemic, and they
       ipation in extracurricular organizations, and           are more resilient and adaptive as a result. The
       attending social events, all of which create            facilities organization can demonstrate its com-
       bonds among students and connection to the              petence, capability, and new level of relevance
       institution, have been eliminated or must take          by focusing on improving critical customer
       place remotely.
                                                               service and maintaining increased levels of
       “Students’ college experience both in and               responsiveness.
       outside of the classroom, including their
       engagement in university life and relation-           ■ Demonstrate the relevance and expertise of
       ships with peers and faculty, is fundamental
                                                               senior facilities officers and their staff. As ob-
       to their well-being and success. Sense of
       belonging is known to significantly influence           served in the 2021 “State of Facilities in Higher
       college students’ social, psychological, and            Education” report, published by Gordian,
       academic outcomes. Studies consistently                 facilities officers were often the only senior ad-
       find that weak sense of belonging is asso-              ministrators physically on campus in the spring
       ciated with poor mental and physical health             of 2021. Their work had always been essential,
       and even suicide, whereas strong sense of               but now their importance was thrown into sharp
       belonging is a predictor of flourishing.”
                                                               relief as they took charge of pandemic response
          — Alyssa M. Lederer, Mary T. Hoban, and Sarah        committees and ensured the health and safety of
             K. Lipson, “More Than Inconvenienced: The         the entire community. Senior facilities officers
          Unique Needs of U.S. College Students During         are now viewed as authorities on the safe use of
           the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Health Education &
                                                               space and considered more relevant as the insti-
                           Behavior, October 31, 2020.
                                                               tution finds its new path forward.
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Section 4:
Addressing Changing Space Needs and Requirements

          ne necessary step as institutions seek to      answer will vary by institution, but some prelimi-
          leverage their sense of place is to consider   nary answers can be suggested.
          changing space needs and requirements.
The pandemic fundamentally shifted how institu-          ■ Many institutions will likely allow some staff and
tions used their space. The majority of campuses           faculty members to work from home at least part
dramatically reduced their utilization of campus           of the time. This will reduce the dedicated office
space, particularly during the first six months of the     space needed on campus, but as these spaces are
pandemic. While usage has gradually risen on most          distributed throughout the campus, the amount
campuses, space remains underutilized. Many fac-           of net space is yet to be determined.
ulty and staff are working from home. Classes are
conducted partially or wholly online, and in-person      ■ Colleges and universities that have seen the value
class sizes remain reduced. Occupancy has been             of online instruction for large lecture-dominated
reduced in residence halls, and social spaces are re-      courses will likely continue to deliver them dig-    TLS
stricted. Spectators are barred or limited for sports      itally, either synchronously or asynchronously.      11
events, and events such as Homecoming and even             The result will be a sharp acceleration of the
commencement have been canceled.                           trend away from large lecture halls.

Now, college and university leaders must address
how campus space will be used in the future. The

 Data Point:
 Adapting residence halls to new demands
 The pros, cons, and costs of isolation rooms
 “Is now the time to introduce isolation rooms             larly designed room for residence halls—an
 in campus residence halls? A single room                  isolation room. This type of specialized space
 with an en suite bathroom for students who                is commonly found in medical facility design,
 require heightened privacy has become a                   but isolation rooms are not typically included
 programming ‘must’ for new and renovated                  on college and university campuses. Could
 residence halls. . . . They provide a private             isolation rooms be one of the long-term
 room and bathroom for students with medical               changes we see? . . .
 needs. This includes conditions like Crohn’s
                                                           “The greatest challenge to introducing
 Disease, diabetes, or other immunodefi-
                                                           isolation rooms for campus residence halls is
 ciency disorders. More recently these rooms
                                                           the cost implications of designating a certain
 have been available at some institutions for
                                                           number of rooms to serve this function,
 students who are transitioning or exploring
                                                           recognizing they will be unused a great deal
 their identity development.
                                                           of the time. . . . The biggest question may be
 “Following the onset of COVID-19, our archi-              how to determine an appropriate scale that
 tectural team has been discussing if higher               does not create undue financial hardship or
 education institutions need to consider a simi-           liability.”
                          — Carson Parr, “Isolation Rooms in Residence Halls: Will They Be the New Norm?,”
                                                                              RLPS Architects, July 9, 2020.
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      ■ Residence hall occupancy levels may be kept low       ■ Reconsider space requirements for faculty and
        for another semester, decreasing the utilization        staff in light of remote/hybrid work. Many
        of residential space.                                   institutions will likely turn to more shared office
                                                                space or hoteling with rooms available for private
      Consequently, the big picture is of a campus with         phone calls, meetings with students, or other
      a rising inventory of unused or underused space.          discussions that require privacy.
      “As schools begin chipping away at large gathering
      spaces and onsite offices, it raises the question of    ■ Support online learning in new and different
      whether there is simply too much space across the         ways. Institutions need to identify the remain-
      board to support a smaller campus population,”            ing barriers to successful online learning, both
      notes the 2021“State of Facilities in Higher Edu-         in terms of technology and training for faculty
      cation” report. Going forward, institutions must          and students, and invest strategically to remove
      reevaluate their use of space and adjust to new           them. They should find ways to strategically in-
      needs and requirements to include reducing the            tegrate online learning into degree programs and
      campus footprint.                                         provide resources for course development and
      Responding to changing space
      needs and requirements                                  ■ Adapt spaces to meet the needs and changing
                                                                expectations of a more diverse population.
      The most important step for colleges and univer-          Colleges and universities must prioritize ad-
      sities will be to understand how their space use          dressing the needs of a rapidly changing campus
      has changed and to translate the institution’s goals      population. Strategic allocation of renovation
      into a real space-use plan going forward. In any          funding can accelerate and enhance the adapta-
      case, Thought Leaders participants believe that the       tion of spaces as a demonstration to the campus
      majority of institutions will need to tackle the fol-     community of what is possible.
      lowing tasks:
                                                              ■ Look for collaborations with local industry
      ■ Increase the flexibility of all spaces. This in-        and corporate business partners. School dis-
        cludes rooms that can be subdivided, furniture          tricts, healthcare groups, local government, child
        that can be easily moved, offices that can be           care businesses, restaurants, and retail—any
        reconfigured, and gyms that can be converted to         organization that cater to the campus popula-
        multiple uses—the importance of these flexible          tion—may also be looking to adapt their spaces
        spaces has never been clearer.                          in response to changing needs.
      ■ Enable better use of outdoor spaces. Institu-         ■ Reduce the campus inventory of less desir-
        tions now recognize the value of outdoor spaces         able buildings and grounds that are no longer
        in limiting the spread of infection as well as          needed. This suggestion might not be welcome
        providing inexpensive alternatives to traditional       to many campus leaders. Nevertheless, even
        gathering places.                                       growing institutions might find themselves
                                                                with more space than they need. The majority
      ■ Target improvements to the residential                  of campus space must be viewed as an institu-
        experience. The challenge for colleges and uni-         tional resource to be managed and optimized
        versities is to keep students safe by limiting the      for the good of the entire college or university.
        potential spread of infection while promoting           This space is not free, and institutions should
        social interaction and creating bonds between           take steps to remove unused, inefficient, or in-
        students. Large amounts of time spent in dorm           adequate and aged buildings from their facilities
        rooms by students has highlighted inadequacies          portfolio.
        that will hamper future recruitment and reten-
        tion efforts if not addressed.                        ■ Centralize the space inventory, database, and
                                                                management systems. Colleges and universities
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   must maintain a comprehensive and accurate         They proposed the following tasks for facilities
   database of available campus space. This data-     management teams:
   base should also be integrated with the academic
   scheduling system; space assignments should be     ■ Design and renew spaces for maximum flex-
   based on campus standards to optimize utiliza-       ibility. Flexibility needs to be a top priority
   tion across the entire inventory.                    in any new construction or redevelopment on
 Data Point:
                                                      ■ Expand the availability of outdoor spaces.
 Changing space needs and                               Thoughtful design can transform a so-so out-
 requirements                                           door space into a highly functional location for
 What’s next for campus spaces                          social gatherings, classes, or meetings.

 “What seems inevitable, especially if the            ■ Improve the health of buildings. The built en-
 transition to hybrid learning is permanent, or         vironment can play a significant role in limiting
 if Coronavirus persists, or if experience with
                                                        the spread of disease, a lesson higher education
 COVID-19 suggests different campus opera-
 tions would better prepare colleges for any            facilities professionals understand well. Institu-
 future pandemic, is a review and re-imagi-             tions should evaluate the use of air filters and
 nation of campus spaces. One campus senior             purifiers, sterilization systems employing ultravi-
 leader with whom I spoke, reflecting on his            olet light, and antimicrobial materials to improve
 recent walk across campus, said he looked              indoor air quality while keeping energy costs          TLS
 up at all of their new classroom buildings and         low. Replacing door handles, elevator buttons,         13
 residence halls and said, ‘My god, what if we
                                                        and light switches with touchless technology
 built these all wrong?’ wondering about the
 future needs of his university.                        reduces the physical transmission of pathogens,
                                                        while installing hand sterilization stations in lob-
 “Indeed, what may be required of our campus            bies, entrances, and exits encourages individuals
 spaces, to meet new patterns, needs, and
                                                        to frequently clean their hands.
 challenges? Can the vast array of campus
 architecture and infrastructure support these?
 The amount of real estate owned by colleges          ■ Reconfigure residence halls to meet new de-
 and universities is staggering. Is it the right        mands. Facilities organizations can help keep
 type of properties and facilities? If not, can         residence halls safe by employing design and
 it be adapted? If not, is there a market for           technology to limit the spread of disease while
 these very purpose-specific buildings? What            also adapting to new needs such as individual
 happens to campuses if there is a major
                                                        and group study spaces, workout facilities, and
 change in how residentially-based colleges
 operate?”                                              isolation rooms for sick students.

        — David Rosowsky, “How Does a Pre-Pan-        ■ Review and modify space standards. Insti-
   demic Building Inventory Serve a Post-Pandemic
                                                        tutions need to evaluate and adjust their space
     University? What’s Next for Campus Spaces?”
                            Forbes, June 22, 2020.      standards to meet changing needs and expecta-
                                                        tions. At a minimum, it’s likely these standards
                                                        will call for increased social distancing in class-
Facilities management strategies to                     rooms and offices, even after the risk of infection
address changing space needs and                        declines. Remote work arrangements will change
requirements                                            the need for full-time dedicated office space,
                                                        while smaller class sizes will dictate a transition
The facilities professionals at the Thought Lead-       from large lecture halls to smaller, more flexible
ers symposium looked at the same question about         spaces. Meeting rooms will need to be equipped
changing space needs and requirements and con-          to support online conferencing. New design
sidered it from their institutional point of view.      standards for HVAC systems and use of outdoor
                                                        spaces must be part of the equation.
A P P A          T H O U G H T                L E A D E R S           S E R I E S            2 0 2 1

      ■ Understand new demands on IT and work to-             ■ Reconsider the master plan and adapt as
        gether to support them. Facilities professionals        necessary. Participants at the Thought Leaders
        must collaborate and partner with IT to enhance         symposium warned against being too reactive.
        operations across the board while striving to pro-      Institutions have been in crisis mode for more
        vide Wi-Fi and cellular service to every corner of      than a year, and decisions had to be made fast.
        the campus, since with online courses, any space        But colleges and universities should move to-
        can now be a learning space. All new programs           ward a more strategic plan of action. A difficult
        should be undertaken with risk, reliability, and        but important question will be how relevant
        enhanced cybersecurity as a focus. Collaboration        the college or university’s master plan remains
        between the two departments helped institutions         post-pandemic and where it needs updating to
        get through the pandemic, and collaboration will        reflect the institution’s post-COVID-19 needs
        be key going forward.                                   and goals. Both infrastructure assessment and
                                                                reinvestment must be part of this long-term stra-
      ■ Maintain and update data. Thought Leaders               tegic discussion.
        participants have long encouraged facilities
        professionals to maintain detailed data on their      ■ Start planning for the next crisis. No one wants
        campus space use, and it is critical that this in-      to hear this, but we’re not going back to normal.
        formation is kept up-to-date. Patterns of campus        Institutions learned hard lessons during the pan-
        use are shifting, and facilities organizations need     demic, and these lessons need to be incorporated
        to know the attributes of spaces, how spaces are        into planning for the future. Complacency is not
TLS     equipped, and which spaces are in use at what           an option.
14      times. This data will be essential in making
        informed decisions in the coming months and
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Section 5:
Questions for Campus Discussion

     very year, participants at the Thought Leaders     nonresidential students and remote learners to
     symposium develop a list of questions to pro-      campus spaces. Can the institution add video
     mote discussion on campus. These questions         footage of the campus and its traditions to online
are considered a jumping-off point for conver-          orientations? Can photos of iconic spaces be used
sations that will help institutions engage in the       as backgrounds on digital learning portals? As
necessary conversations needed to better leverage       in-person interactions become easier, can institu-
their spaces going forward.                             tions find ways to invite these students to campus
                                                        for social events, clubs, or study groups?
1. What are our existing iconic spaces? Do we
need to create additional iconic spaces? How
can we support and enhance them? How can                 Data Point:
we create memorable experiences connected to             Increasing diversity on campus
these spaces?
                                                         Improving access to public spaces                    TLS
Institutions must recognize the importance of                                                                 15
iconic spaces and prioritize the protection and en-      “Universities should think carefully and
hancement of these spaces. As the APPA Body of           critically about its public spaces, and who
                                                         has access to them. It should ensure that all
Knowledge states, “The spatial arrangement and
                                                         students feel empowered to use public space
visual appearance of a campus are central to its         on campus although a caveat is in order here;
identity.” The document continues:                       encouraging students to use public space will
                                                         not guarantee that lower-SES [socioeconomic
   Consider the messages conveyed about an in-           status] students will have positive experiences
   stitution by agricultural acreage, research labs,     in those spaces. Having a negative expe-
   a large and stately library, a teaching hospital,     rience in a public space—being harassed by
                                                         police, being catcalled by people who pass
   a 100,000-seat football stadium, a “fraternity
                                                         by, being heckled by peers—surely does not
   row,” a visible childcare center, or a prominent      increase sense of belonging and almost surely
   transit stop near the campus core. Explicitly or      decreases it. Universities, therefore, should
   implicitly, they represent elements of the mis-       proceed with caution.
   sion and values of the university. Accordingly,
                                                         “Universities might also reimagine which
   the campus master plan must be driven by what         public spaces are iconic. Currently, at our insti-
   the university aspires to be.                         tution and we suspect others, iconic spaces
                                                         are historical. Because institutional histories
As colleges and universities face the post-pandemic      are often exclusionary, these spaces can feel
reality, they should evaluate their iconic spaces and    exclusive, intimidating, and unwelcoming. But
ask if they are truly representative of the universi-    that can change. Institutions can commit to
                                                         new identities and missions, and new spaces
ty’s goals and aspirations. Do the most important
                                                         to represent them. Institutions can create
spaces tell a story about the institution and its        inclusive iconic public spaces.”
values? Or are these spaces sending conflicting
messages or even shouting “stay out!” to some seg-          — Sophie Trawalter, Kelly Hoffman, and Lindsay
                                                             Palmer, “Out of Place: Socioeconomic Status,
ments of the population?                                     Use of Public Space, and Belonging in Higher
                                                              Education,” Journal of Personality and Social
Colleges and universities should also think cre-                                Psychology, June 25, 2020.
atively about ways to build connections between
A P P A           T H O U G H T                 L E A D E R S            S E R I E S             2 0 2 1

      2. How can the campus better meet the needs               housing with individual bathrooms? The answer
      of a more diverse student population? In what             will likely depend on how successful communities
      ways can the built environment improve equity             are at containing the spread of COVID-19, but the
      and inclusion?                                            financial situation of colleges and universities will
      As the population grows more diverse, colleges and        also be a major factor. With enrollment plummet-
      universities must make sincere, concrete, and more        ing and residence hall occupancy severely curtailed,
      intentional efforts to better support students of         institutions barely have the funding to operate resi-
      all races, socioeconomic backgrounds, genders,            dence halls, let alone remodel them.
      and ages.
                                                                A safer prediction is that most students will con-
      One way to do this is to provide spaces such as so-       tinue to take at least some of their courses online,
      cial areas and cultural centers for students of color     even while living in residence halls. Institutions
      or those from ethnic or socioeconomic groups. Re-         need to provide designated study spaces to make
      search conducted at the University of Washington          online learning easy and practical. Other design
      and the University of Exeter in the United King-          elements likely to be considered include health or
      dom published in Social Psychology and Personality        isolation rooms, more flexible study spaces, and so-
      Science shows that the simple existence of these          cial spaces that can be adapted for changing health
      spaces helps students feel a greater sense of belong-     or other campus conditions.
      ing and engagement with their campus.
                                                                The challenge for colleges and universities will be
TLS   In her recent book Campus Counterspaces: Black            to continue to promote interaction between stu-
16    and Latinx Students’ Search for Community at His-         dents and build community. Research summarized
      torically White Universities, University of Chicago       in a whitepaper by architecture firm TreanorHL
      professor Micere Keels identifies these spaces as         shows that students in traditional-style residence
      “counterspaces”—spaces she identifies as “safe” and       halls report nearly 25 percent more opportunities
      as those that “enable radical growth.” The element        for social interaction than students in suite-style
      of safety is necessary to counteract the hostility that   residence halls. Another study showed that students
      many students continue to experience on campus,           who lived in traditional corridor-style rooms their
      since “there is compelling evidence that students         freshmen year made higher grades than those who
      from historically marginalized groups continue to         lived in apartment-style housing with individual
      experience historically White college campuses as         rooms. Published in the Journal of Student Affairs
      less than welcoming, and sometimes, as actively           Research and Practice and reported in Inside Higher
      hostile spaces,” said Keels in an article published in    Ed, the study showed the effect was greatest for
      the magazine Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. At      African American students. Overall, students who
      the same time, these spaces should be used to pro-        lived in traditional campus housing had both better
      mote conversations and understanding about issues         grades and a greater sense of belonging.
      affecting marginalized groups. Keels encourages
      campuses to ask, “Is the programming in that space        How, then, can institutions meld safety with social
      celebrating, bringing awareness to various issues of      interaction? One answer might be cluster housing,
      cultural diversity, as well as how to communicate         in which individual rooms are grouped around a
      and work across these identity issues?”                   shared living and dining area. Another possibil-
                                                                ity might be affinity housing, in which students
      3. How can we adapt residence halls to support            live with others who share a common interest or
      new requirements while emphasizing community              identity. Affinity housing is widely accepted for ac-
      and interaction?                                          ademic or social interests, such as housing based on
      The next few years will be critical for the future of     foreign-language studies or academic programs. Far
      residence halls. The situation is difficult to predict.   more controversial are race-based or ethnic-affinity
      Will students and parents again be comfortable            housing programs, which some critics charge are
      with shared rooms and communal bathrooms? Or              modern-day segregation. The advantage to affinity
      will institutions need to convert to single-room          housing is that community building is easier for
                                                                those with strong, shared interests.
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