Campus leaders are well aware of the "amenities arms race" in higher education.
More and more, institutions are providing luxury amenities, especially within residence halls, to compete for prospective students. While luxury residence halls can boost enrollment, EAB's Facilities Forum has found that community-centric residence halls, which emphasize community space and promote student interactions, increase retention rates and improve learning outcomes.
To address these dual needs, the University of Utah successfully built a community-centric residence hall designed specifically for students interested in entrepreneurship.
Utah's Lassonde Studios opened its doors to residents, who range from first-year students to doctoral candidates, in August 2016, Áine Cain reports for Business Insider.
Utah's newest high-tech hall is built to house 400 students and be an innovative space for anyone on campus to pursue their entrepreneurial interests, Cain writes. Each of the four residential floors has a different theme, with matching design and equipment to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration and shared interests, according to EAB's profile of Lassonde.
While most students will live in more typical singles and doubles, 20% of students will live in 70- square-foot "pods" that include only the essentials. These pods will be placed in communities of 20, each with its own kitchen and workspace.
The residence hall's blend of living and working spaces encourages students to interact and collaborate, says JoCee Porter, a current Lassonde resident.
"Campuses recognize that luxury amenities are largely a recruiting tool to appeal to prospective students and parents," says Ann Forman Lippens, practice manager and facilities researcher at EAB. "What makes the Lassonde Studios unique is that it combines luxury amenities and a community-centric layout. So it's an impressive feature on the campus tour and facilitates student interactions once the students are on campus. This helps build a supportive network of peers and strengthens students' connection to the university, which can help improve retention and outcomes" (Cain, Business Insider, 11/9).
Related: Luxury and Community-Centric Residence Halls
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