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Articles: Campus Life

More than half of students go to colleges within 50 miles of their homes.

The twin goals of affordability and diversity dominate the nation’s push to expand access to higher ed, but another critical factor—geography—is drawing more attention for the role it plays in where students go to college.

Wake Forest U’s 2014 commencement speaker, Jill Abramson, was no longer New York Times editor-in-chief when she gave her speech, but the talk was still well received.

Choices for commencement speakers are making headlines this season, and higher ed officials are aiming to make sure those headlines are positive. For one thing, many colleges now prioritize student input and diversity when choosing commencement speakers. 

Some campus officials worry energy drinks contribute to students' risky behaviors.

Citing that energy drinks have been linked to health problems, Middlebury College has stopped selling them to students. School officials also suggested the popular beverages, which are often mixed with alcohol, have been involved in incidents of binge drinking, “high-risk sexual activity” and other unsafe behaviors.

Craig Weidemann is vice president for outreach and vice provost for online learning at Penn State University and Karen Pollack is assistant vice provost for online undergraduate and blended programs.

Online learning has expanded dramatically over the past two decades, reaching a high of more than 5 million enrollments in 2013. While that expansion has slowed recently, it still far exceeds overall growth in higher education. Yet by 2025, the phrase “online learning” could disappear from the common vernacular.

Early adopters tout virtual reality as the next big thing, and in higher education, 360-degree videos are adding exciting, immersive experiences. The best indicator that the time is right for “VR” can be found in the investments made by two competing tech giants, Google and Facebook.

Oral Roberts University students have to walk an average of 10,000 steps each day.

All first-year students must buy and wear a Fitbit fitness-tracker. While some critics called this requirement an overreach, school officials say Oral Roberts has long had a fitness component as part of its “Whole Person Education,” which focuses on mind, body and spirit.

Douglas A. Hicks is senior advisor for academic initiatives and professor of religion, and former provost and dean of the faculty, at Colgate University. Suzy M. Nelson is vice president and dean of the college at Colgate University.

In recent months, students have confronted problems such as climate change, race relations, social class inequity and sexual violence with protests at colleges across the country. It’s a chaotic process, and how an administration responds to a protest is vitally important to a school’s ability to alleviate the issues that spark it.

C. Kevin Synott is a professor in the Department of Business Administration at Eastern Connecticut State University.

How many alcoholic drinks do you think the typical female or male college student consumes each week? Clarifying misperceptions may result in fewer alcohol-related problems on our campuses.

Spectrum perspective: The New Brunswick campus of Rutgers will soon have two new buildings, one for the day program and another to provide housing for its participants.

A groundbreaking facility in development at Rutgers University will provide adults with autism opportunities to work on campus and live in apartments alongside clinical staff and graduate students.

Artificial intelligence has come out of research labs and onto college and university campuses to aid students and faculty. It remains in the very early stages of making education more effective, accessible and affordable—but it’s beginning to transform learning environments and campus services.

Located in downtown Leesburg, Florida, Beacon College—the nation’s first accredited four-year-degree-granting institution for students with learning disabilities—has brought a century-old train station back to life as a student center. Students can socialize or workout in the 3,400-square-foot space.

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Beacon College’s enrollment grew from 185 students in 2013 to more than 220 last year to 285 this year. The institution anticipates a total of 500 students in the next few years.

Nearly two-thirds of higher ed readers surveyed expected a major renovation project to be launched or completed in 2016.

Picture it: Faculty no longer get their own offices and libraries have vanished. Dorm rooms come standard with private bathrooms and maid service, and terrazzo tile has replaced carpeting as the new standard flooring across college campuses. Sound ludicrous? Maybe not.

Students can color, practice golf shots on a putting green, build with Legos and play video games at the Niagara University library’s “stress-busting station.”

It gets heavy use during finals week, but is set up year round to encourage students to gather with classmates for activities other than cramming for exams, says Debra Colley, the New York university’s executive vice president.

Student success is the top priority for 84 percent of the campus leaders who responded to a UB survey.

Across higher education, institutions are blending instruction and extracurricular lives. Living/learning communities, data-driven advising and academic pathways, among other progressive initiatives, should continue to produce results at enterprising two- and four-year institutions—and will therefore see more widespread adoption.

Faculty, students and staff gather on Guilford College’s quad to express their support for refugees who have been invited to live on the North Carolina campus. (Photo: Kat Miller)

As the national debate over sheltering Syrian refugees on American soil heats up, a North Carolina college with a Quaker heritage is providing sanctuary to one family and encouraging others to do the same.

Guilford College in Greensboro has launched the Every Campus a Refuge initiative, designed to ease the transition of Syrian families into the United States by housing them for 90 days after arrival.

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