Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Residence Life director will help design "Residence Hall of the Future"
A group of experts, including Julie Payne, director of Residence Life, is convening to design the next generation of campus housing at the 21st Century Project summit February 5-8 in Chicago.
The 21st Century Project is a multi-phased program that will culminate in the construction of a brand new, state-of-the-art college residential facility. Sponsored by the Association of College and University Housing Officers – International (ACUHO-I) and its member organizations, this prototype will show how better to accommodate the ever-changing role residence halls play in the collegiate experience and in higher education institutions.
Payne is president of the Great Lakes Association of College and University Housing Officers, a regional affiliate of the ACUHO-I that covers Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan.
She said the 21st Century Project will be a 99-member think tank bringing together housing, student affairs, and food service professionals with students, University presidents, faculty members, vendors, architects, and other experts for four days of intense discussions on current issues in the field, including housing styles, technology, sustainability, layout, materials, and more.
She said, “We’re a little ahead of our competitors, because we have apartments and suite-style housing. Privatization is what students want, but interaction between students is a primary enhancer of student life, so we don’t want to create an environment that isolates students, either. Finding that balance is a challenge.”
Federal agencies such as the Department of Energy, Department of Education, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will also be recruited to participate at various stages of the process.
“We are bringing together a wide variety of experts from both the academic and professional side to help us approach the project from every conceivable angle,” said Michael Coakley, project coordinator and also assistant vice president of Student Life at Northern Illinois University. “The sustainability and economics of this project will be considered just as highly as sociological and educational factors. Aesthetics and pragmatism will be weighed against each other. It will epitomize all we look for in a quality residence hall.”
Payne said, “The outcome will affect any future construction that happens on any campus that sees the results. We’ll have a blueprint that shows us the things that are important. We can tell our architects that we need to infuse these ideas into any long term projects.”
Association members are currently collecting and synthesizing data corresponding with ongoing trends in university housing as well as the expanding technological advances within the campus environment. This data, along with the knowledge and experiences of other attendees will be shared at the February summit.
In late spring 2006, the group will present its findings to participating college and university officials as well as to vendors, development agencies, and architecture firms.
Participating firms will then begin to produce conceptual plans and massing options for the defined facilities. From these, a committee will choose final designs or design components. That building will later be constructed on a college campus.
“This is not simply a group of people brainstorming a wish list of ideas,” said Sallie Traxler, ACUHO-I executive director. “When the project is complete, there will be tangible evidence of our work and we fully expect it to serve as a model for the college residence halls to be built around the world for the next generation.”
For more information about this project and the summit, go to www.acuho-i.org and click the 21st Century Project button.