Childcare futures as a lever for broader change

Players are shouting out the great work that is already happening on campus with the Child & Family Center and the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center – and not surprisingly, they would like to see more resources directed to expand these services in the coming years. Students, staff and faculty are all using their Positive Imagination to envision a 2030 campus with more childcare, for a broader age range, and for less money.

Yes! Currently the only child care on campus for staff/faculty starts at 18 months old. Employees have limited & expensive options off-campus, often with long wait lists and that entail longer commutes. How can we direct resources to expanded infant care for employees?

As a former student parent, students need more childcare options too. Like part-time childcare for infants and toddlers.

But as some players point out, reinventing child care could go well beyond simply expanding access and affordability. It could actually transform campus life in 2030 for everyone, parent and non-parent alike.

What if, for example, in addition to the regular class schedule, 2030 has a whole new set of class schedules that accommodate parent and caregiver calendars?

Classes are regularly offered from 6 am to 12 am. This accommodates for work and childcare schedules. Additionally, this would solve problems with parking.

If classes were expanded to nontraditional hours, campus facilities could be used more efficiently (no more classrooms empty all weekend), CSULB could attract a different set of students, and even reduce course congestion. Students juggling work and childcare could have more options. Of course, this would also extend to more options for backbone faculty and staff:

IMAGINE 4/10 work schedules, 4 week work schedules, 6am-2pm work schedules, 3 weekday/2 weekend schedules. This would provide us options to be productive employees and dedicated parents.

So not only could we see classes offered at different hours of the day, we might even see them offered in different chunks of time rather than the traditional M-F and the full semester. Pop-up classes, weekend classes, all could be added to a new menu of blended learning (digital + face to face) to create a daily rhythm that expands options for attending, working at, and teaching at The Beach.

Future of life choices: the housing/car nexus

Today, here in 2018, students, staff, and faculty are all struggling with the same issue: how to make the tough tradeoffs between an affordable (and hopefully nice!) place to live and a short and affordable commute to campus. It affects our quality of life, where we choose to live, and what we spend our time and money on. Right now, it’s not working very well for a lot of people.  As Lynne Harris puts it:

Lynne Harris says "You read my mind. A lot of us (staff and students alike) are making choices between an awful commute, or living in LB on the ramen noodle diet. But there is pushback from LB neighborhoods that don't want higher density housing in their backyards. Or affordable housing options."

In 2030, it’s not hard to use your Shadow Imagination to envision a campus with more commuters, more parking lots, more cars, and even longer days for those who live even farther away.

As Alyson Brown notes, that’s because of the housing/car nexus – as goes affordable housing, so go commute patterns and needs.

REPLY: Alyson Brown says "As our population grows affordable housing is going to get worse. Soon we will not have enough housing options for our population. Big apartment complexes near CSULB can raise their prices because of the demand of students looking for housing."

Steven Yu points out how increased pressure on affordable housing will lead to more commuters, coming from farther away:

Steven Yu says "So what about students who cannot afford to live closer to campus and have to commute out of necessity?"

Fiona plays out a pretty shadowy future: Might some students have to resort to DIY personal housing right on campus?

REPLY: Fiona says "Students will set up tents on campus, as they can't afford housing. They'll be living next to the other mentally ill homeless that set up a quasi-Skid Row along Friendship Walk."

Affordable housing and long commutes are linked problems that need some new approaches. There are tons of great ideas about things our Long Beach community can start working on today:

First stop, an easy idea but hard to execute: better public transport….

Developing methods and support for student who commute. Metro only goes up to Norwalk so public transportation is limited if you aren't local or drive. #Transportation

Public transport is a hard nut to crack and involves major partnerships with external organizations. But closer to home, how about streamlining on-campus mobility so that campus commutes don’t add an extra leg to already long travel times?

Lori Joy has a great first start: an idea that would also create jobs for students and provide more inclusive mobility options for all.

Lori Joy Says "Campus 'UBER' with golf carts. #morestudentjobs"

Re-organizing campus to be a little more decentralized would also make on-campus commutes easier and faster…such as having more facilities on lower and upper campus. 

Payton says "A lower campus library that is more accessible for those who commute both to upper and lower campus, dorms, parking etc. on a daily basis."

Third, how about simply better maps of resources that are already available…

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to see who’s driving to campus and has an extra seat, exactly where the shuttles are, and where there are open parking spaces? If we start now, this should definitely be in place by 2030.

Khue Duong says "To see a list of available commuters, cars, shuttle to commute to and from campus at a specific time of day"

We can also do better at helping commuters manage their quality of life. How about building more multi-purpose spaces that allow students, staff, and faculty to rest during those long days?

Britny Coker-Moen says "This is actually a great idea! I know a lot of students who sleep on campus or in the library because the time to commute back home, even those that live local, is too much to squeeze into our already over-loaded schedules, especially during finals. Also, sleep pods. "

This is just the beginning of the conversation. This is a huge, multifaceted issue, and one that affects our ability to show up at class and work with energy. If we want to see transformation in 2030, we have to address it with creativity, empathy, and execution.

Future of climate action at the Beach

We kicked the game off with a Sustainability Challenge: 

What is the campus’ role in creating a sustainable world? From clean air and water to sustainable food systems and sustainable energy to climate change mitigation – there will be endless ways to innovate and impact the long-term health of our planet. What role could your discipline play in these efforts? What campus initiatives could have the most positive impact? What should students learn at CSULB to be in the best position to help create a more sustainable world? If there were no barriers, what should be CSULB’s goals for sustainability by 2030? #LB4Sustainability

Soooo many great responses came in (search for the #LB4Sustainability hashtag), imagining how in 2030 we’ll be eating differently (think meat grown in campus labs!), getting to campus differently (bike-shares and scooters) – even re-organizing administrative life around digital rather than paper-based bureaucracy).  

Perhaps most importantly, players like Faculty Doe see that it’s time to embed climate literacy in everything we do…today…so that by 2030 we have the leadership we need to drive climate action:

In 2030, climate change science and climate literacy are infused throughout the university curriculum. Students #learnbydoing to become experts and leaders in climate adaptation and resilience.

In 2030, many players like Kristy Nguyen note, surely sustainability will be a required GE course. And there’s no reason The Beach couldn’t be a leader in climate adaptation by 2030, writes Sneha Jaishankar:

Positive Imagination: Sneha Jaishankar "I can envision CSULB to be a breeding ground for young scientists, policy makers and economists on a path to being carbon neutral by 2030 #LB4Sustainability"

As Martha points out, this change can’t come from students alone. Faculty can’t wait for young people to raise the alarm; they will have to set the tone.

Students learn from example. Faculty and Staff have a major role as role models to set the stage on what should be accomplished for sustainability.

However…if climate action isn’t stepped up soon, many people, like Mahesh Dixit, are linking what’s happening today to a much darker, smokier, and uncertain future for students at The Beach:

Climate change-induced wildfires force many of our students to drop out due to lack of funds and housing. #climatechange @campushousing