Feb. 28, 2018, 10 a.m. | Lucro Staff | Deal Review

6 Trends Shaping Student Housing on College Campuses

On the typical college campus today, you no longer see traditional dorm rooms. Instead, new, interactive, and collaborative spaces where students can move freely from their academic to social lives are gaining popularity. College students (and families) are now more than ever demanding that college campuses change to better represent a balance of work, school, and social freedom.

From the integration of cutting-edge technology to the cultivation of stronger peer relationships within residents’ halls, we’re witnessing some big trends that are shaping student housing development across the country.

Universities are competing to recruit the best and brightest students by creating residential facilities that act as a foundation for social and academic success. It makes sense, right? An alluring and inviting space will be where students spend about 50% of their time in college. Why make dorms drab and uninspiring?

Below are 6 of the most prominent trends that you can see taking over dormitories, residence halls, and living spaces on college campuses big and small.

Fostering a Sense of Community

For first year college students, having a strong sense of community is important, as students are learning to navigate a world without the immediate support system of their families. Student housing is finding innovative ways to foster a sense of community within resident facilities by incorporating lounges and open spaces that encourage students to interact with one another. These lounges are typically central to the rest of the dorms, where students can meet up to watch movies, study, or meet others on their floor.

Residents facilities are no longer only a place where students sleep. As the call for cool, design-focused dorms continues, universities are transforming their dormitories into spaces where students can socialize and focus on academics. Studies have shown that creating a sense of community on college campuses can help students thrive academically and decrease common illnesses on campuses like depression and anxiety.  

Focusing on Shared Spaces and Amenities

Residence halls are beginning to look more like high end apartment buildings, offering students a wide range of shared spaces and world-class amenities. Things like indoor and outdoor pools, jacuzzies, gyms, ping pong tables, arcades, and spaces with comfy couches and flat screens are all commonplace in newer dorms. These facilities and shared spaces are meant to attract incoming college students, get them excited about living on campus, and give them a sense of freedom. College is all about the balance between fun and academics, and residence halls are designing spaces to facilitate that balance.

Increased Privacy Options

When you picture dorm rooms, you often picture several bunk beds stacked to the ceiling and a crowded, shared hall bathroom. Today, dorms are getting a major facelift with increased privacy options. Residence facilities are starting to look less like traditional dorms and more like off campus housing such as mixed-use apartment complexes. With suite style dorms, living rooms and kitchens shared by two to four students, and private bathrooms, living on campus is starting to attract older students who would otherwise live off campus. Universities are trying to decrease the number of students living off campus by giving them traditionally off campus facilities and privacy in the space of a dorm. Now, today’s students can have the best of both worlds: the privacy and amenities of an apartment building with the convenient location and security of on campus living.  

Integrating Tech into Spaces

As the world of tech become more and more essential in our everyday lives, universities are having to step up the way they utilize tech into student’s living spaces. For the average college student today, technology is not only an important part of their everyday social lives and entertainment needs, but it is a vital part of succeeding in academics as well. Residence halls are increasingly integrating tech into both the dorm rooms themselves and common study spaces. With high-speed wifi available in every room, outlets, flat screens, projectors, printers, and other multimedia tools, students are able to both watch movies and work on collaborative presentations all in the space of their residence facility.

Building Green Dorms

One trend that is prevalent in the design and construction of new residence facilities is a focus on green buildings. Universities are under more pressure now than ever to be advocates for protecting the environment in everything they do. This includes university research, classroom upgrades, and the overall construction of residence halls. Whether it’s eco-friendly design choices like LED lights, green roofs, solar panels, high-efficiency washing machines, and outdoor classrooms, the spaces that students live in are intended to impact how they view sustainability.

The Rise of Living-Learning Communities

Living-learning communities are spaces that include a mix of residential and educational spaces. Studies have shown that students perform better academically when non-traditional academic settings are incorporated along with more traditional classroom work. In living-learning communities, residential facilities are designed around the idea that students are living with a diverse group of people who all have a common interest and work on collaborative projects together. Living-learning communities have become increasingly popular in the past decade a way for students to express themselves while having a group of peers to support them socially and academically.

There’s no doubt that the modern dorm room is dramatically shifting away from tradition and transforming into more innovative, collaborative, and multi-use spaces. These 6 trends are just a few of the many that you can expect to see become the norm on college campuses in the near future.