The Dynamics of Change: Millennial Students' Impact on Their Total Collegiate Experience

By Ruffo, John A. | Planning for Higher Education, January-March 2009 | Go to article overview

The Dynamics of Change: Millennial Students' Impact on Their Total Collegiate Experience


Ruffo, John A., Planning for Higher Education


The previous issue of Planning for Higher Education is the first half, and this issue the second half, of a single themed issue on student life and its impact on the built campus environment.

This is the second of two special issues of Planning for Higher Education. Together, the issues examine evolving millennial students and the changing learning and living experience in which they are immersed.

In the first issue, October-December '08, we concentrated on key questions surrounding today's students. What do we know about them? What can we observe in their lifestyle and learning tendencies? How do these shifts influence how we design learning programs and facilities? We explored:

* the newly integrated living and learning experiencepeople, programs, activities, and places and the ways in which students choose to live and learn in facilities that recognize their evolving lifestyle;

* issues of health and wellness, as well as the heightened role of fitness-including increased interest in sports-in the development of sustainable lifestyles;

* the new typologies and fresh initiatives being developed by campus planners, student life professionals, and architects in an effort to accommodate the needs and desires of these "new" students; and

* the growing student interest in creating a sustainable future and our role in their call to action.

In this second issue, we explore how our campus environments are adapting to meet the demands and expectations of today's students. We investigate several vital aspects of campus life and explore multiple questions, including:

* How are students influencing the use of educational places, the design of space, and campus constructionand why is their influence so dramatic?

* How are technology, teaching practices, and outside-of-the-classroom social influences affecting major campus institutions, particularly libraries/learning centers? Have libraries, formerly used primarily for book and document storage, now become key places for the total spectrum of student learning and living? …

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