Colgate University Redesigns Campus to Meet Contemporary Student Needs as it Enters the 3rd Century

United States North America Higher Education News International Studies by Erudera News Apr 26, 2023

Colgate university campus

Although its campus is considered one of the most beautiful in the United States, Colgate University, a leading American university, has announced it is doing extra work on its design, making it the most significant and transformational project in the school’s 200-year history.

Colgate, now embarking on its third century of existence, is committed to student success and wants to bring students closer to the university and enable interdisciplinary learning.

The school has engaged architects of Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA), a global New York-based architecture firm, to redesign the campus with the intention of promoting cooperation between previously isolated departments.

Speaking of campus redesign and the importance of residential education, the Vice President and Dean of the College, Paul J. McLoughlin II, said that students are more likely to take intellectual risks and be open to learning more about themselves and their surroundings when they are connected with their peers.

In an interview with Erudera, he said that the school has seen residential living as a way to ensure that it is meeting current student needs and helping them get the necessary knowledge about the “increasingly complex world in which they live.”

“Residential education is foundational to the liberal arts education Colgate provides,” McLoughlin said.

“How students live can impact how they learn. Where students find community can positively impact connection and students’ sense of belonging.”

Such a major campus redesign is expected, among other things, to prepare Colgate students for the job market. According to McLoughlin, graduates must be exposed to complex and competing ideas, decision-making, commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion principles, and a love of lifelong learning.

The university is working to offer a residential experience that helps students develop and improve the abovementioned skills.

“Colgate is designing a residential experience that helps students, from first-year through senior year, develop these skills and to live in communities that both challenge them and provide them with support as they develop,” McLoughlin said.

“High impact learning requires real-world experiences that extend beyond the formal classroom and lead to education where students live and share in community.”

Associate Partner at RAMSA, Kasey Tilove, also disclosed some details about the work at Colgate while speaking to Erudera News, describing the plan as an ambitious and multi-prolonged effort to prepare the institution for the future.

“Recognizing the correlation between the residential experience and student success, Colgate and RAMSA undertook a systematic student housing analysis and developed a bold ‘2+2’ vision guided by the University’s commitment to community, parity, and inclusion,” she said.

Whilst the first two years of studies at Colgate, according to Tilove, will be redefined by students’ experience in residence halls located on campus, referred to as “on the Hill,” considered a place of pride for students, the second two years will be transformed with new ideas about the Lower Campus.

The latter will make it possible for junior and senior students to live in a cohesive and interconnected campus village where they can be encouraged with housing models that boost independence.

Beyond the student residential experience, Colgate is expanding interdisciplinary learning opportunities through new academic projects like the Benton Center for Creativity, Arts, and Innovation, a 30,000 sq ft building, also designed by RAMSA, where both computer science and visual and performing arts facilities will be located.

Benton Hall

“Through all these efforts, we are centering sustainability in our design. Colgate is notably one of just a few carbon-neutral campuses in the USA,” Tilove said.

“The Benton Center for Creativity and Innovation will use a ground-source heat pump system to help the campus move away from fossil fuels, and the Benton Hall Career Services Center, which is LEED Platinum–certified, uses just 17 percent of the electricity and 41 percent of the total energy of a benchmark building.”

Colgate ranked 18 among National Liberal Arts Colleges, according to the 2022/2023 edition of Best Colleges.

New Spaces to Integrate & Support International Students

The design of spaces is not only expected to have a positive impact on local students but also to facilitate the integration of international students and help them create a new home away from their home.

University leaders believe that creating a welcoming campus can lead to more international students choosing to study at Colgate.

College Dean McLoughlin said that Colgate is among institutions widely known for educating and preparing future talents from all over the world.

The number of applicants at the university has increased by 146 percent in three years. Currently, international students at Colgate account for 9 percent of the student body.

McLoughlin pointed out that such great demand, despite enrollments declining in other institutions, is recorded because potential students know that Colgate is acclaimed for providing a top education. Colgate’s total tuition and fees reach $64,290.

“Prospective students understand that a Colgate education includes learning from top-tier faculty and staff, exposure and connections to outstanding students from all over the world, and a residential education that helps them develop independence, a sense or purpose, and a career development that will prepare them for a purposeful life after Colgate,” he told Erudera News.

Colgate University is a private institution founded in 1819. Today, it has 3,219 students, of whom 55 percent are women, and 44 percent are men.

25 percent of students are domestic students of color, while 13 percent are first-generation students whose parents lack a university degree. The university has more than 38,000 alumni globally.

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