When most people think of a college campus, they think of the grounds and buildings of the campus, which is similar to the traditional definition of community: “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.” A more modern definition of community adds a “feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals.” In other words, the heart of a community is based on the connections and relationships between the people in the community.
What if in the future, college “campuses” became college “communities” that fostered the development of relationships, both physical and virtual, to support all aspects of an individual’s mental, physical and emotional development, related to working, learning and living?
As part of Imagine Beach 2030, members of the CSULB community came together to redefine the concept of the college campus into a community that supports all aspects of person’s life – even from birth to death. Campus libraries become “work and learn” centers that provide child care. University parking lots become landing zones for mobile work and sleep pods.
Interdisciplinary research labs develop new solutions to support the holistic health and well being of newborn and aging members.
These solutions are then shared with other communities that could benefit, bringing in additional revenue and resources from outside.
Faculty become students, and students become faculty, where everyone learns from each other.
What if, instead of just “taking classes” and “living in a dorm” on a CSULB campus, you instead become a lifelong working member of the CSULB community that continues to provide self-sustaining opportunities for working, learning and living for generations to come?
“I would like to see Long Beach become the most diverse campus in the nation,” says Tenley Ackerman, who participated in Cal State’s Imagine Beach 2030. Many folks thought this future scenario was a wonderful idea. To create this desirable scenario, two major questions emerged. What kinds of diversity are most valued and how will a diverse campus be achieved?
“Amen to that,” says Lynne Harris in response to Ackerman’s 2030 vision for CSULB. She raised the question, “In addition to cultural, religious, gender and ethnic diversity, do we also mean disabilities, economics (low income, access to wealth), and access to tech?” Having a more inclusive campus, all the way around, appears to be a “no brainer” for the future of Long Beach. Manuel Perez agreed with Harris that “CSULB will continue to have a diverse student body in 2030, based on the demographics of the region and California.”
So, is this vision of inclusion just for the physical Long Beach campus, or for both physical and virtual Cal State campuses? Others added that a future Long Beach campus, whether physical or virtual, should apply to both faculty AND students.
One faculty member commented that the issue of diversity is closely related to incorporating a global perspective into the campus culture. “So frequently Americans forget there are so many other ways of doing things beyond the American way.”
“The opposite of inclusion is exclusion,” says Falco. The real question is, who is currently being excluded from experiencing the benefits of the Long Beach campus and how can we include them in the future? Do we need to expand our current definitions of “student,” “faculty,” and “campus” in order to be more inclusive? If so, this requires a major shift in the way we think about the college experience and how to make it more inclusive for anyone who wants to learn, from anywhere in the world.