Planning for Higher Education Journal

How Can Residence Hall Spaces Facilitate Student Belonging?

Examining Students’ Experiences to Inform Campus Planning and Programs
From Volume 44 Number 4 | July–September 2016
By Michelle Samura
Planning Types: Campus Planning

Although belonging is a key element of college student success, little is known about how campus spaces, particularly the residence hall, affect the development of student belonging. Through qualitative analysis of interviews and student-created photo journals and maps, two key findings were identified as particularly useful for campus designers to consider: (1) students need spaces for personalization and privacy, not in ways that isolate but rather in ways that promote individual well-being and belonging; and (2) residence hall design needs to be continuously assessed and aligned with residence hall programming to most effectively facilitate meaningful student interactions. When campus planners and architects, university administrators, and residence hall staff work collaboratively and feedback is solicited from students, residence halls can become spaces where students feel as if they belong.

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