In their article, “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces,” Kathleen Scholl and Gowri Gulwadi argue that the physical, social, and mental environment is an important aspect of a student’s college career.  

The physical environment of a college campus.

The physical environment of a college campus.

The physical environment refers to the actual landscape and area around the institution. Although this may seem irrelevant, it is actually very important to the overall quality of a student’s education.

The social environment of a college campus.

The social environment of a college campus.

The social environment depicts how a student communicates with others; chances are that the more people a student has to speak with and be around, the more positive his or her learning outcome will be.

The mental environment of a student.

Mental environment is how a student regards himself or herself. How students perceives themselves is extremely important to how successful they are going to be in the future. The more self confidence one has, the more they are able to get things done, which leads to reaching their potential and achieving their goals.  

As described, this means that the aesthetic as well as the overall aura of a campus is imperative to a student’s education. This makes sense because I know that for me personally, it is much easier to be able to study outside of my room, when I go to a university that has such a beautiful campus. If I were to walk outside on a regular school day, there are students studying everywhere outside, hanging out by the tables in front of buildings, or reading on the quadrangle, which helps to prove Scholl and Gulwadi’s claim that all types of environments are extremely important to the education of a student at a learning institution.

In their article, Scholl and Gulwadi explain the exact textbook definition of the word campus. “The word campus, (derived from a Latin word for “field” – “an expanse surrounded…by woods, higher ground, etc., Harper, n.d.) was first associated with college grounds to describe Princeton University in the 1770’s (Eckert, 2012; Turner, 1984) and now refers to the overall physical quality of higher education institutions (Bowman, 2011).” This definition is extremely important because as seen in the beginning of the quote, the definition of a campus was solely the physical environment. To break down the quote, the beginning says that any piece of land that is surrounded by an institution (whether it is a higher ground or the woods), is considered a campus. This definition was first developed at Princeton University. As the years passed by, the definition developed into meaning that a campus is now described as the physical environment of the higher education institution.

On the other hand. Scholl and Gulwadi try to disprove this definition. They are saying that the physical qualities of a college campus is not the only important aspect when it comes to student life and education. This definition does not take into consideration the mental environment and social environment of a student. When I say mental environment, I mean the aura of the college campus. For example, what do the students themselves think about the campus? Do they act positively or negatively when talking about the campus? What a student believes about their school can gravely change how studious they are. Social environment is also very important. If a student were to have many friends and study groups to be around, chances are he or she will be much happier in their school. This means that when they will go to their campus, they will have a positive outlook.

Works Cited

Issue, By. “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces | Scholl | Journal of Learning Spaces.” Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces | Scholl | Journal of Learning Spaces. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.

“Shall Property owned by the University System of Georgia and utilized by providers of college and university student housing and other facilities continue to be exempt from taxation to keep costs affordable?”

At first glance, this quote seems pretty straightforward and reasonable. When I first read it, I thought it meant that any piece of property that is owned by the University of Georgia that is used by students and faculty should be public property and people should not have to pay for it. But if you break it down into ‘Jane Eats Cake’ format, you will learn that the group that wrote this quote is actually just telling you what you want to hear. Breaking the quote further showed me that what these people are actually saying is that in the end, the people will have to pay for these facilities anyway. It is also very vague. Nowhere in the quote does it say who is paying for these facilities to begin with. It also does not explain the importance of the property by the University of Georgia. Don’t the parents of the students have to pay for housing anyway? What difference does it make if the costs are the same? Overall, this quote looks good if you read through it quickly. It is very clever that they put it on the ballot because when you read through it only once in a voting booth it is simple to just think “Yes, this makes sense.” Breaking down the quote is not something that many people are capable of doing.

The corner of M Street and 13th street is a beautiful area, unlike what was described in the novel S Street Rising by Ruben Castaneda. When I first arrived at my site, one of the first thoughts that struck me was how rich everything was. The people walking around the area were also relatively rich, (or at least they looked the part). The corner is populated with beautiful green trees– that is, until fall season begins– and is a relatively quiet area. There are numerous buildings around the corner, mostly offices and apartments, aside from a huge area built like a hotel right on the corner, known as “Thomas Circle Apartments”. I’ve also noticed that most of the buildings on this street are made of brick, which could show that  When visiting the site, I noticed that there were cars parked all down the street, showing that this area must be very popular. There are virtually no bars or restaurants or anything food related on the specific corner, or a couple of blocks down 13th street for that matter. A less than two minute walk away from the infamous street corner, there is Thomas Circle.

Thomas Circle, present time

Thomas Circle, present time

Thomas Circle is also known as a traffic circle that became very developed from when it was first built, in the mid 1860s. Thomas Circle was first used as a roundabout to stop people from driving too fast when they went by the street, but it soon developed into something much bigger than that. Luther Place Memorial Church was built right behind it, giving the area a beautiful view. A very big and elegant hotel is located diagonal from the church. This attracted many wealthy citizens to this part of town. Then, Thomas Circle itself started to undergo construction. There are now flowers planted in the circle, making it look more like a fairy-tale garden rather than a “prostitute hot-spot”, as Castaneda described in his novel. This location shows how overturned the city has definitely become gives a rise to the theme of the novel as a whole. It is evident by Ruben Castaneda’s description of not only this location but the description of most locations in Washington D.C. that he didn’t believe that these places would ever be as developed as they’ve become today.

This also relates to City of Rhetoric, by David Fleming. In the novel, Chicago is described as a place that is split in two, between the poor area and the rich area. Throughout the novel, David Fleming made it sound like the ‘north side’ of town had no hope and could never be as evolved as the ‘south side’. That is, until a building known as Cabrini Green came into place and started to turn the city around. This building was supposed to help the members of the community to live a normal life with the same privileges as anyone else. After many struggles to get the town’s and the people’s attention, Cabrini Green finally became more and more developed and soon turned into a very nice part of town. There is a building just like this in this part of town. Although I wasn’t able to get too much information about it, I saw on google earth how underdeveloped it was in 2007 and how great it looks now. This shows how much a location can change.


This sign may or may not be a controversial topic to some people. To me personally, it makes me feel all happy and giddy on the inside that finally, in 2016, we are starting to accept all people despite what gender they identify with. It makes me even happier because this is a sign posted by my university, my home for the next four years.

This sign explains that all genders are welcome in the restrooms. No matter what gender you identify with, this bathroom is open to everyone no matter what. I love how they included in the second paragraph that this may be new to some people and that’s okay. It’s okay that some people aren’t used to the idea of sharing a bathroom with someone of the opposite gender, or someone that doesn’t identify with them. There is also an option to lock the door in case you are uncomfortable, which is very nice. This sign is very supportive of what everyone believes. It doesn’t say that one opinion is wrong compared to another, or that this is the way things should be. It is simply asking for people to be open to new ideas.

Housing and dining programs are the ones who put out this message. This proves that the entire American University organization was entirely supportive of making this happen, which I’m sure makes someone who may be insecure about their gender identity feel much more confident and safe in this place. This sign doesn’t only show that all genders can use the bathroom together, but that American University is inclusive of all genders, races, ethnicities, etc. AU is accepting.

“Thomas Circle.” WhatWasThere. Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.

When I visited my site, what struck me at first was that it was in a relatively rich part of town. As a street corner where prostitutes used to be picked up, it was very surprising to see that the town had completely changed. Evidently, S Street Rising is definitely not a fairy tale kind of book. This source will connect to my project as a whole because it will show how different and developed M Street now is compared to how Ruben Castaneda described. This also proves that it is possible for a city to be overturned, to say the least. The area around Thomas Circle went from being a prostitute hotspot, to an elegant location.

“UDR Apartments 1301 Thomas Circle.” Housing Opportunity, n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.

When I got to the exact address of my location, the first thing I noticed was a building with a sign that says, “Thomas Circle Apartments”. I decided to take a look inside and it was luxurious and beautiful and nothing like I expected it to be. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a view of the actual rooms, so I decided to visit the website. The website talks all about what a great neighborhood Thomas Circle is, and how convenient it is that it’s so close to such a great area and community.


“The Residences at Thomas Circle.” The Residences at Thomas Circle | Welcome | Meridian Senior Living. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2016.

There are a multitude of residences around the area of Thomas Circle. It is no secret that in every elite community, there is usually an elite senior home. This website shows all of the senior home located on M Street and 13th Street. On Google earth, it doesn’t show the sign for the apartment until August of 2014, which means this must be relatively new. Before then, it seems like it was more of a small restaurant. The building looked a lot less polished in 2007 than it does now. It definitely has a more modern feel to it, especially with the white walls and fancy door.


“Webpage Footer for Location.” Washington, DC Hotel Near White House – Washington Plaza. N.p., 2016. Web. 09 Oct. 2016.

Just a two-minute walk from that infamous street corner was Thomas Circle, which I decided to look into. According to the source, Thomas Circle was “originally a traffic circle”, which means that it was used to slow people down and refrain drivers from driving too fast. 10 years ago, Washington D.C. put in 6 million dollars into developing this traffic circle. It now includes sidewalks, paths for pedestrians, and new landscaping. (When I saw it, I wrote down that it looked like a garden). Especially with the beautiful church in the background, Thomas circle looks like a true fairy tale to me.


“Thomas Circle Restoration Project” Government of the District of Columbia. Department of Transportation, 2005. Web. 09 Oct. 2016

It is extremely important to show the overall aura of the neighborhood in which the Thomas Circle apartments are located. This is a source with a picture taken directly standing on Thomas Circle. The statue is one made by General George Henry Thomas of John Quincy Adams. This statue brings out the overall environment of Thomas Circle. If you stand directly in front of the crosswalk, there is a beautiful sight that shows the Mayflower Hotel on the left, the National Christian City Church on the right and  this statue directly in the middle.


“Man dies after self-inflicted stabbing at Thomas Circle Park” The Washington Post. 2016. Web. 09 Oct. 2016

The first thing I noticed about this article is that it was very blunt and straightforward and made it seem like there was actually a stabbing at Thomas Circle. These are the kinds of news that I really had to dig through the Internet to find, which shows that the Thomas Circle police department really wanted these news to be buried. This is an article about a man who apparently died of a self-inflicted stab wound. Detectives are saying that this is being reported as a suicide in one of the apartment buildings. They do mention in the article that this happened near many businesses, hotels, and churches as if that was supposed to help reassure the reader that this neighborhood is still very much high class.


“A Horse at Thomas Circle.” The Washington Post. N.p, 2016. Web. 13 Oct. 2016

There is a house on Thomas Circle near Vista International Hotel on M Street where a horse was let loose. One of the first things that was described in the article is what the horse looked like. According to the man who saw the horse, “To begin with, the horse was a beauty, black and frisky.” Then, the man who saw the horse reassured the interviewer that the horse wasn’t cornered or seem to be in any distress. It seemed like they asked him to say that just to prove to everyone in that neighborhood that everything was perfectly fine in that neighborhood. After a few confused people looked at the horse, the horse started walking back to his grass by himself, without any help. The police arrived shortly after to help put the horse back where it belongs.


“National City Christian Church – National Church of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).” National City Christian Church. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

This is the website to the National City Christian Church. Community involvement is always an integral part of a society, and much of the involvement by the inhabitants of Thomas Circle is through the church. On the website of the church, there are many upcoming activities, as well as some beautiful pictures of the church which I was lucky enough to go visit myself. There is even an hour-by-hour schedule of what is going on at the church, which shows the amount of people that attend these events. The National City Christian Church is obviously the center of the community. Aside from the future events, there is also a description of all past events that the church has sponsored.