The Environment of College Campuses

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.

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