Happy Campus Workshop

Happy Campus Workshop

Access, Inclusion, and Social Justice Week: Happy Campus Workshop I & II

By Jen Kitson, Ph. D. from Arizona State University. This October, GPS students facilitated participatory “Happy Campus Workshops” to explore the ways outdoor spaces on campus support emotional wellbeing, health, and inclusion as part of Rowan University’s Access, Inclusion & DEI week, sponsored by Accessibility Services, the Office of Social Justice, Inclusion, & Conflict Resolution, and Center for Neurodiversity. 

At the Happy Campus Foodscape Workshop, led by Dr. Mahbubur Meenar’s Community Planning and Site Design and the R.E.A.L. Club students, about 30 participants, including students and faculty, enjoyed a tour of the R.E.A.L. Club community garden followed by interactive activities, live music, food, and conversation. A major part of the discussion was focused on the achievements and challenges of Rowan University Community Gardens and identification of the steps to overcome the challenges. All participants were divided into five small groups and engaged in a discussion for 50 minutes, facilitated by the students from Community Planning and Site Design. Based on these discussions, students are drafting a brief report and will submit it to the R.E.A.L. Club and the authority in charge of the gardens.

Tour of community gardenLive music before the focus groupsFocus group 1Focus group 5

At the Happy Campus Greenspace Workshop, led by Dr. Jen Kitson’s Urban Geography students, people passing through Robinson Green were invited to join two activities. At the emotion mapping table participants were asked to place emotive stickers on a campus map and discuss their experiences. At another table, participants could build their ideal outdoor campus using playful materials, such as blocks and colorful found objects. This inclusive method, named “Place it!”, was developed by two urban planners, James Rojas and John Kamp, to make the participatory design process welcoming to all ages and abilities harnessing our sense of play through tactile sensory experience. Highlights of the workshop included enthusiastic discussion by students in Professor Federman’s Earth, People & Environment course and participation by President Houshmand and Provost Lowman. Students are summarizing the results of this workshop and their accessibility field observations this semester related to outdoor spaces for submission to the Office of Accessibility Services and Facilities.
Greenspace workshop overview imageEmotion mapping activity facilitated by Joe Galante, Ike Brecker-Gross and Shane Sloan with Rich Sistad facilitating a Place it! group in the background

Place It! Design