Ten years forward: Will campus look the same?

Ten+years+forward%3A+Will+campus+look+the+same%3F

By Samiha Uddin

Technology is constantly moving forward — from hoverboards to virtual reality. Ten years from now, will campus look the same?

According to City of Champaign’s Planning and Development Department, the campus is already advancing. 

Several solar installations already produce electricity for the campus, and approximately two percent of the campus’ electricity is produced by the 20.8-acre Solar Farm, located on the south side of Windsor road. Both the University and the Solar Farm project have partnered since December 11, 2015, and it allows the Business Instructional Facility and the ARC to utilize solar technology.CH

But Steven Breitweiser, development manager of Champaign’s Planning and Development Department, said that doesn’t mean the University won’t strive to improve.CH

“Solar panels will be placed on the ECE Building’s roof and the north campus parking deck are upcoming renewable projects on campus,” Breitweiser said.

In 2008, the University also signed the “American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment” to be carbon neutral by 2050. The Illinois Climate Action Plan is the University’s action plan for reaching these target goals. 

Along with the University’s carbon neutral plan, there will be infrastructure improvements between the campus and Champaign-Urbana. 

Multimodal Corridor Enhancement projects (MCORE) will take place along Armory Avenue, Wright Street and Green Street.

“(They will) enhance pedestrian access routes, adding bicycle lanes, improving vehicle corridors and minimizing conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists, motor vehicles and transit especially on Armory Avenue in front of the main library,” Breitweiser said.

But besides for the infrastructure changes, Brian Quick, University communication professor since 2007, said students’ communication techniques will continue to change.CH

“Students have generally remained the same since 2007,” Quick said. “We attract strong students here at the University. However, in regards to technology, how students communicate continues to evolve as technology rapidly changes.”

Along with the technological changes, Quick sees a bigger emphasis on online education.

“The other large change I would say is the immense amount of online education. For the past several years I have taught an online health campaign class,” Quick said. “As instructors, I remember back in the day when we entered grades in paper grade books. Today, we enjoy sites such as Compass, Blackboard and Moodle to assist with course management.”

Quick has a specific image that he envisions for the future of the University — one that includes experiencing campus culture no matter the format.

“I believe it’s important for students to experience a campus culture and the experience is different via an online environment. I envision an uptake in online classes and online components as part of a class that meets face-to-face in the future,” Quick said. “For instance, a class meeting three each week might meet face-to-face for two days with an online component for the third day.”

Aymen Shamoon, sophomore in LAS, has his own ideas for what campus will look like ten years from now.  

“I don’t think the structure of the buildings will change much. Students are certainly going to be more diverse,” Shamoon said. “They are certainly going to move more toward electronics. Instead of taking notes, the videos of the lectures will be posted on the website. This isn’t science fiction; this is what I hope will happen.”

No matter what the change, Quick has a specific image that he envisions for the future of the University — one that includes experiencing campus culture no matter the format.

“I believe it’s important for students to experience a campus culture and the experience is different via an online environment. I envision an uptake in online classes and online components as part of a class that meets face-to-face in the future,” Quick said. “For instance, a class meeting three each week might meet face-to-face for two days with an online component for the third day.”

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