A Brief History of The College Dorm

Smithsonian: Carla Yanni, author of Living on Campus: An Architectural History of the American Dormitory (Univ. of Minnesota Press), details the history of undergraduate college dormitories, from the first purposefully built lodgings in colonial America to dorm takeovers during the student protests of 1968. As Yanni writes, ‘Residence halls are not mute containers for the temporary storage of youthful bodies and emergent minds’; they reveal and ‘constitute historical evidence of the educational ideals of the people who built them’ … The first US colleges were sponsored by Protestant denominations and tended to be isolated, in rural locations or small towns, to distance students from the corrupting influence of the city … so the undergraduate experience took on a semi-monastic aura.”

“By the 1920s and ’30s, dormitories had become crucibles in which deans and other university administrators, acting in loco parentis, transfigured children into adults … All students would, ideally, live on campus to get the full benefit of the collegiate experience … But thanks to the GI Bill after World War II, a new influx of students challenged this emphasis on campus living; there simply wasn’t enough space to house all of them. This led to the growth of … cookie-cutter dorms that were relatively quick and inexpensive to build … These residence halls made students feel anonymous, more products than people.”

In the 1960s, at the “Kresge College at the University of California, Santa Cruz … the residential area … included not just dormitories but cafés, launderettes, meeting spaces, and classrooms in what were termed ‘living-learning units’ … Americans have come to accept dormitories as an essential and integral part of the undergraduate experience, one that should help students achieve academic excellence and fulfill their demands for apartment-like and therefore independent adult living, while also providing opportunities for meaningful interaction.”


Duke Forest: Tree Campus USA

Duke Today: “Duke has earned the distinction of being one of the friendliest campuses for trees in the country. The Arbor Day Foundation named Duke a 2018 Tree Campus USA site, an honor for colleges and universities that promote healthy trees and engage the community in conservation efforts. There are 364 campuses across the United States with the ‘Tree Campus USA’ recognition.”

“The Arbor Day Foundation selects Tree Campus USA schools by examining five core standards. Duke has a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated spending on a campus tree-care plan, involvement in an Arbor Day observance, and a student service-learning project. Duke has roughly 15,000 trees, as well as about 7,060 acres of land as part of Duke Forest. ”

“The Arbor Day Foundation launched Tree Campus USA in 2008 by planting trees at nine college campuses throughout the United States.”


U Hawaii’s Food: From Good to Great

Forbes: “Last semester, University of Hawaii at Manoa students such as Frank Lloyd started to notice a difference in their campus food. It wasn’t just better — it was some of the best college food ever … Did Gordon Ramsay take up residence at this commuter campus in Honolulu? No, something far more interesting, and instructive, happened here. Within a 24-month period, the campus foodservice provider, Sodexo, hatched an ambitious plan to upgrade the campus restaurants. The results seemed to surprise even the managers behind the idea.”

“Sodexo overhauled its menus, adding more vegetarian and vegan options … Sodexo deployed Bite, its smartphone app, to allow students to track their calories and they integrated the Tapingo to enable mobile orders. A visit to one of the cafeterias during the busy lunch hour shows the results. There are no lines. That’s because there are more than 500 daily transactions using Tapingo … Sodexo also phased out a well-known fast-food restaurant that specializes in tacos and added Stir Fresh, a new stir-fry restaurant that served local fare.”

“Before the changes, students would simply go home after class. Now, there’s a sense of community around the coffee shops and restaurants, and people are more likely to hang out … This fall, customer satisfaction reached 94%.” Mark Nakamoto of Sodexo comments: “We learned a lot about student needs. And I think they, in turn, learned how businesses work.”


Student YouTube: A Lens Into Campus Life

Chronicle of Higher Education: “Search any college’s name and you’re likely to see a student-produced dorm-room tour or move-in day video among the top hits … Videos uploaded by college students offer an authentic lens into student life and campus culture, which are helpful for high schoolers looking to visualize themselves on a specific campus … Keri Nguyen, a Florida high-school senior, even applied to a few colleges she felt were a reach for her academic record because of the YouTube videos she watched.”

“Olivia Pongsrida, a junior majoring in sociology at the University of Washington, started her channel in her sophomore year as a creative hobby … Many of these college Youtubers see themselves as unofficial academic ambassadors, well aware of the influence they have on anxious high schoolers applying to college. Pongsrida and May Gao, an influencer from Brown University, have offered to read applicants’ college essays. They interact with the online communities they’ve developed, answering questions and comments on social media.”

“At West Virginia, students in a video titled “The Most Honest WVU Campus Tour Ever” entertainingly exaggerate how great the campus is. The University of Oregon featured random students walking around campus in a “Duck Advice for Freshman” video … But what is most appealing to a high-school audience is rarely found in college-produced content — personal detail and a sense of trust between YouTuber and viewer. College influencers offer up their high-school GPAs, test scores, extracurriculars, even the essay that got them into college. This level of transparency is invaluable to viewers, especially those applying to college.”


20 Great Photos from Bates College

Move-In Day for the Class of 2022 at Chu and Kalperis halls.
“As I passed a Kalperis Hall room on the morning of Opening Day for the Class of 2022, Anders Landgren, age 15, was taking what I am sure was a well-deserved rest after he and his sibling Lizzie, age 8, had helped big sister Anna ’22 settle into her new digs.” A gallery of 20 fantastic images of Bates College by photographer Theophil Syslo. (link to gallery)


Gather: Dickison College Farm ‘Pops Up’ a Restaurant

The Sentinel: “From its roots in the student gardens of the late 1990s, the Dickinson College Farm has been at the forefront of promoting local food. The 80-acre USDA-certified organic farm near Boiling Springs gives students hands-on experiences not only in growing food but also in preparing and selling it to the campus dining hall as well as its Campus Supported Agriculture program and the weekly Farmers On the Square in downtown Carlisle … Its most recent addition brings the food cycle full circle with many of the students who grow the food helping to prep the food and acting as servers at its pop-up restaurant, Gather.”

Jenn Halpin, director and farm manager of the Dickinson College Farm, comments: “Gather represents the growing interest in food entrepreneurism among Dickinson students, especially those who are employed at the college farm … With help from students and farm staff, a campus venue is transformed into a fine dining farm-to-table restaurant. Students are trained to assist guest chefs with meal preparations and plating, in addition to managing ‘front of the house’ meal service.”

She adds: “Ultimately, Gather aspires to build community through food. Dinner guests are treated to a uniquely elegant dining experience while students gain further insight into small business development, team work, and customer service all the while expanding their culinary horizons.”


Special Programs Help Prepare Freshmen

The Washington Post: The Educational Opportunity Program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, “designed to prepare students for their first year in college, subjects them to 15-hour days full of classes and study sessions … Its requirements were a shock to most of the 18-year-olds in the program. Many received their high school diploma less than a week before the session started. Before students really knew what they agreed to, they surrendered their cellphones and were followed when they went to the bathroom during class.”

“But most agree it’s worth it. Educational Opportunity Programs, a feature of university systems in several states, have shown that a carefully structured combination of demanding academics and intensive support can launch vulnerable students to success during their first year in college. Students then often go on to graduate at higher rates than their peers.”

“New Jersey’s Educational Opportunity Program is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It’s a positive vestige of the riots that roiled Newark in 1967. In the aftermath, state legislators allocated money to help urban students who weren’t getting a good enough K-12 education attend and succeed at the state’s colleges. Similar programs popped up nationwide around the same time, but not all remain. The largest programs are in California, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington state.”


Planetarium is ‘High Point’ at HPU

Greensboro: At High Point University, “The Wanek School of Undergraduate Sciences is more than 70 percent complete and on schedule to open in August. Not only will this four-story building serve as the new home for the university’s growing undergraduate programs in biology, chemistry and physics, the $65 million facility will also complement the university’s graduate-level offerings in pharmacy and the health sciences.”

“The main lobby of the new science building is nearly 50 feet high, topped by a cupola. A hallway leads into the building past big windows that show off two labs — microbiology on the left, physics on the right. At the end of the hallway is one of the building’s key features: a planetarium with 125 stadium-style seats and an overhead dome that’s 50 feet in diameter. HPU students will use the planetarium for earth studies, astronomy and other science courses. It’ll also be the site of one of the few planetarium operations courses in the country, said Brad Barlow, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy.”

“The science building will have classrooms, faculty offices and 30 labs, including ones for animal, insect and cadaver research. It also will have a makerspace so students can work on their own projects outside of class. Next door to the Wanek building, HPU will erect a 15,000-square-foot conservatory that will house a new greenhouse for botany research and to grow the trees, shrubs and flowers that are planted throughout campus.”


‘Snackbot’ Delivers On-Campus Munchies

The Washington Post: Students at University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., can “order snacks and beverages for the first time from a bright-colored roving robot on wheels known as the Snackbot. Its stout body perched atop six small wheels, the electric Snackbot resembles some combination of an Igloo cooler and a Volkswagen Microbus … The electric vehicle includes a camera and headlights and can travel 20 miles on a single charge, even up hills and in the rain, according to PepsiCo, which partnered with robot-making startup Robby Technologies to launch the campus delivery program.”

“Scott Finlow — vice president for innovation and insights at PepsiCo Foodservice — said the autonomous delivery vehicle taps into two trends among college students: a growing desire for healthier food and a desire for ‘on-the-go sustenance,’ the result of students becoming less inclined to eat three fixed meals each day.”

“Instead of interrupting classes, the Snackbot will follow a less invasive delivery model, Finlow said, noting the ‘rolling vending machine’ doesn’t charge a delivery fee. After downloading the Snackbot app and placing an order, students can select from 50 designated delivery locations across the 175-acre campus … Finlow said the machine will sell the same items that are found inside PepsiCo’s Hello Goodness vending machines, including: Smartfood Delight, Baked Lay’s, SunChips, Pure Leaf Tea, Bubly, LIFEWTR and Starbucks Cold Brew.”