One would think I would be tired of visiting campuses. After thirty years in Higher Ed and six years with Blackboard I have visited dozens of campuses in the US, Canada and Europe. Every time I visit a campus I see something new and exciting. One of the things I have been noticing lately is the focus on the student experience through convenience and attention to the needs of the “Millennial Student.”
On a recent visit to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa
I was simply in awe of the beauty of the campus that both historical buildings and modern services are featured. This university features one of the oldest Dining Halls in the country. A few steps away is one of the greatest contemporary dining operations I have ever visited. Choices galore must make the students very happy. In addition, the campus has seen fit to create a “one-stop shopping” facility where students can perform dozens of tasks within one facility. Gone are the days of hiking all over campus to accomplish routine business tasks.
On another trip to the DC area I found time to visit the George Mason campus and attempt to score lifetime Basketball tickets. That idea was a bust but the visit to the Johnson Center was an eye-opener. In this facility you find a great food court, restaurant, recreational facilities, information kiosk, meeting rooms, student offices and even the library. It is incredible and serves as the heart of the campus.
A recent appointment took me to Montclair State University to visit old friends and new customers, Dr. Karen Pennington and Kathy Reagan. I was excited about this visit because I wanted to see the famous Red Hawk Diner and hear about their ever expanding technology deployments. In the middle of the campus is what I would refer to as a classic stainless steel diner. It is simply the greatest and so popular that they need to call the campus police to control the traffic on the weekends. I also learned on this visit that Montclair is using the Rave Cell Phone solution to stay in touch with their students. It is very popular and fits the needs of the millennial student perfectly.
One of the highlights of this past summer was a visit to Linköping University in Sweden for the ECCA (European Campus Card Association) meeting. I always find visits to universities in other countries particularly interesting because I want to see how services are offered and how students experience their education. I found very modern facilities with lots of commerce opportunities and plenty of technology in use. Dining, campus store and vending facilities in other European countries I have visited were not readily available on campus. Student habits on these campuses have been to obtain commercial services at off-campus locations. Services at Linköping University were very similar to the US. We dined in a full service food court with plenty of choices and a focus on healthy eating. Vending was ubiquitous and we even had an opportunity to shop in the campus store.
I would be interested to hear any stories about your campus “special features” that really impact students. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to share them.
Best wishes for a successful semester.