I’m at work on a future VQ story about the current state of residential learning at UVM, which drew me across campus to the campus of John Sama, director of Living/Learning. While the main focus of my story will be the here and now of how students live on-campus in halls where their residential and academic experiences are increasingly blended, I’ll also look into the historical roots of residential learning at the university.
With the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Living/Learning Center next August, it’s an apt time to look at what’s become of this model—how things have changed at L/L and how the basic concept has found variation in other halls across campus. John shared with me a couple of tattered, faded planning documents—”University of Vermont: Project 73, Living/Learning Center.”
Basically, the booklet is a request for proposals from potential developers of the project and spells out the necessary details on square footage and access and so on. But it’s also peppered with telling details that suggest in small ways how much things have changed in 40 years.
Like this: “The primary function of the outdoor recreation facilities are: Softball, touch football, road hockey.”
Clearly, Living/Learning’s planners were blind-sided by the rise of the Frisbee, skateboard, and hacky sack.