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What spaces attract Generation Z students?

An architect, a university director, and two authors explore space types that attract Generation Z students to your student union. Part 1/5

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<p>Giancarlo Brugnolo:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I would say, for me, where I see most of our usage is in those common areas, not so much dedicated study rooms, but more of our living rooms, if you will. Looking at the common areas where students can congregate and just sit and lounge. Other places would be like our cafeteria. Again, that open space where students can come, kind of be, as you guys alluded to, by themselves, but then still be able to talk to other people and work with other people. Those are the areas that I see the most common and heavily-used spaces. A lot of our meeting rooms are used by faculty and staff now, more so than our students have, so that's been really interesting to see from our perspective.</p> <p>Meghan Grace:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I think what we talked about was this idea that space and time are a little bit fluid for this group of students in the sense that, again, they might be on line, but they need to talk to their neighbor quickly, so moving chairs ... like these are great. You can move these around, you could sit in a circle, but you could also sit in the corner and relax and do something on your own. This idea of multi-purpose, fluid of space, but also the amenities would just be, are they able to connect online and provide services both in person, but then online at the same time, so I think it's this idea of fluidity of ... It isn't just in one space, the only place you can get it.</p> <p>Dr. Seemiller:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Yeah. I think, to add to that, if we go back, student union, by definition, what it was created to be was the living room of campus. I think what happened over the years is it turned into the kitchen, the study room. It became a house, right? You had to go to separate spaces to do separate things. If we can get back to the ideas that students want to learn and eat and socialize in the same space without having to move seats three times in the same area, could there be something that feels like maybe food court around and a lot of moveable seating on the inside where it feels more like Starbucks, not plastic chairs, where they are invited and welcome to stay for a while. That would be kind of the essence. Then, we think about amenities, too. I remember many student unions, they have bowling alleys, right? Some still do. Is this idea of what is it that they need to get in a student union that they can't get online or otherwise? What are those services that they critically need that we need to have there?</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; We've talked about are there things that maybe would be beneficial to be in the student union, like we're talking about maybe an extension of health services or campus health having a 24-hour urgent care there. Why would they need to come to the student union other than, in many cases, to get food? We need to give them a reason to come there. Unfortunately, in doing programming in the student union for 10 years, programming didn't draw them there. It was the food that drew them there, and then we got them into the program. How do we get them there with things that they couldn't otherwise get online or in the near vicinity of campus that's offered in much more extended hours than what currently happens.</p>

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