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Students’ dream campus of the future

3 minutes of reading

“Imagine the future of tomorrow’s higher education campus”: this is the challenge launched by the Bouygues Group to students from 19 schools and universities in partnership with asapidea.

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At a time when students are becoming increasingly involved in the ecological and social transition of institutions, their uses and expectations must be taken into account, in order to design or reconfigure campus spaces, infrastructures and equipment closely in line with their needs and challenges. This also responds to the issue of the attractiveness of campuses in a context of increasing national and international competition.  

 

The subject is inspiring, as shown by the significant involvement of students from the 19 higher education institutions associated with the study (business schools, engineering schools, design schools, web design schools and universities). For two weeks in March 2022, nearly 50,000 students logged on to the platform available to them to find out about the challenge, and 158 ideas were submitted on four themes:  

– Well-being and spaces on campus;  

– A sustainable campus;

– The campus to connect all players;  

– Reinventing the educational offer. 

 

Seven ideas, selected according to the criteria of value, differentiation, potential and ability to inspire, stood out and sketch out the face of tomorrow’s campuses:

1/An eco-hub for more sustainable campuses 

The eco-hub would be a space within the campus, or shared between several campuses, demonstrating the ecological transition of institutions. In one or more dedicated buildings, it would bring together resources and services (e.g. an incubator for entrepreneurial projects related to ecology) and would encourage interaction between users concerned by these issues: student environmental associations, students, academic staff integrating climate-energy issues into their teaching. The building(s) themselves would be exemplary, positive-energy buildings, designed or renovated using bio-sourced materials. In short, a third place for the ecological transition of the campus. 

 

2/Spaces optimised in real time 

Based on the fact that it is sometimes difficult to find an available room on campus to work in, this idea proposes a digital system enabling qualitative information on available spaces to be shared in real time, coupled with a room reservation system. Based on the Waze principle, users could indicate the prevailing atmosphere of a room (quiet and conducive to personal work or activities requiring concentration; lively for the hosting of working groups; etc.), the number of available seats remaining, the equipment available or any other qualitative information deemed relevant. 

 

3/Peer education 

Gone are the models of education based on the top-down transmission of knowledge. Instead, there is a move towards active teaching methods which make the student an active participant in his or her own learning and where the teacher now plays a supporting role. To take this decentralisation of knowledge further, this idea is based on the creation of workshops by students for students, based on their skills and interests. Knowledge is passed on by peers, in immersion, in line with the motivations of each individual. A dedicated platform or a platform integrated into the digital space in campus facilitates networking. The prototype has already been tested with the Solar Experience, a DIY workshop to learn how to design your own solar panel in two hours. 

 

4/Tailor-made courses 

The aim is to rethink the way in which courses are organised in higher education, by adapting them as closely as possible to students’ career plans. In this spirit, students compose their own course and freely choose their modules according to their interests and skills acquisition needs. They create their own personalised Master’s programme, accompanied by a teaching coach with whom they have regular exchanges to update their objectives. In conjunction with local companies, students identify practical cases and initiate projects that are consistent with their course and in synergy with local players. 

 

5/Repair stations 

In order to encourage active mobility, and in particular the use of bicycles, the campus would be equipped with interactive repair stations. They would include all the necessary equipment (pumps, spanners, etc.) and QR codes to access video tutorials to repair a bike independently or to raise awareness of bike maintenance. Ideally, these stations would apply to different forms of mobility: electric bikes, scooters, bicycles, etc. 

 

6/Mini grids 

To raise students’ awareness of energy transition and energy consumption issues, this idea envisages developing mini-grids by enabling each student or group of students to design their own photovoltaic panel. The object could then be used for several purposes: calculating the energy produced and consumed at the level of a class, raising awareness of collective self-consumption of energy, organising challenges, etc. 

 

7/Interconnection and food court 

At the heart of the campus, a flexible food court, inspired by the food truck model, would make it possible to manage the catering offer in the best way possible according to the events and flows of people on campus. Outside of the peak hours linked to catering, the space freed up by food trucks would be used for other purposes and would constitute a dynamic meeting place and entertainment area within the campus. Food companies, start-ups, businesses, students and local players would meet there for conferences, festivals or meetings organised on a regular basis. 

 

Beyond these ideas, all the students’ reflections reveal the key issues they identify: inclusiveness and the creation of social links, diversity of uses, physical, mental and societal health of students, in the “well-being and spaces” category; zero waste and circularity, changes in behaviour, carbon neutrality, cohabitation with nature in the “sustainable campus” category; connections with the professional world, reinvention of links between students, synergies with the neighbourhood and the region, exchanges between players within the campus in the “the campus to connect all players” category; tailor-made education centred around the student, link with the professional world to find a sense of meaning, use of digital technology to make learning more flexible in the “reinventing the educational offer” category.  

The players now have all the keys in hand to design or renovate campuses that are attractive due to the quality of their spaces and the plurality of uses they encourage, due to their ecological and social exemplarity and due to the capacity for empowerment they confer on students.