Colleges and universities across the globe are putting huge amounts of hours and money into making their institutions more friendly and inclusive to all students. In 2016, Brown University announced that it would dedicate $100 million to diversity and inclusion. There are many other such investments across North America and the globe.
One part of these programs is making an education institution welcoming to any student. But there’s also the fact that the world is changing, employment is changing, and higher education professionals are working to prepare their students to excel in careers that may not even exist yet.
Aside from initiatives to improve the diversity of faculty and staff, the physical resources available to students are also very important, and demonstrate that colleges and universities are taking meaningful steps to provide everything a student may need.
Looking for and starting at a college can be stressful – it’s the first time students are moving away from home, going to a new place and meeting a lot of new people. Knowing that they are entering a place that is open and inclusive to people of all race, gender, and religion can provide a lot of comfort.
Interactive campus maps are a great way to bring all of your campus inclusivity resources into one, easy-to-search location, and making it easy to find those resources.
Below are several different resources that are important to highlight on campus.
Gender Neutral Bathrooms
In 2018, researchers at Clark University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst surveyed 500+ transgender and gender-nonconforming students on what institutions offer accommodations for these students, and what accommodations are the most important to them, which turned out to be gender-neutral bathrooms on campus.
Gender neutral bathrooms help many students feel more comfortable and safe on campus, so this is something worth displaying to current and potential students. Colorado State University uses its interactive campus map to highlight inclusive services highlighted, including all of the gender-neutral bathrooms around campus. When a student clicks on an icon on the map, a pop up window is displayed with more information about the exact location of the restroom.
Lactation rooms are another important resource that help faculty, staff, and students feel more comfortable on campus. Lactation rooms allow nursing mothers a private, accessible, and comfortable space to breastfeed.
Texas A&M University has a number of different lactation rooms across its campus, and these are displayed on an interactive map with special icons. When clicked, more information about the location of the room, usage, and details about the offerings are displayed. Texas A&M offers lactation rooms with comfortable chairs and ottomans, a flat surface table, electrical outlets, small trash dispensers, and lockable sliding door.
For many students with disabilities, college campuses can be nerve-wracking to navigate. The United States alone is home to roughly 57 million people with a disability, and 11% percent of college undergraduates have disabilities according to University Business.
U.S. higher education institutions are legally required to accommodate students with disabilities but features and resources can be difficult to find. One way to help dissipate this confusion is to make sure that your campus clearly displays and showcases these resources to their students in a user-friendly way.
Putting in elevators, ramps, routes and other features does no good if the people who need these resources can’t find them. Using Concept3D’s platform, your campus can show exactly where levels change, where trouble spots may occur, and where accessibility features are located. Additionally, elevators, grab-bars, sidewalks, and ramps can all be a specific color and routed in maps. This allows students and visitors to plan the best routes around campus beforehand, saving time and energy looking for the right option.
For example, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has an extensive accessibility tool that shows where all of the curbs, ADA accessible parking, building entrances, elevators, and video phones are located across campus.
Religious & Spiritual Spaces
Colleges and universities are a melting pot of people with different beliefs and backgrounds. For many students it may feel comforting knowing that there is a familiar place for them to go despite being away from home.
Florida State University has all of its religious and spiritual spaces featured on its campus map. There are over 20 different organizations listed, highlighting the diversity of the campus. Having centers of worship or reflection easily displayed on your campus map not only helps students find places they feel welcomed, but it also shows your school’s openness to different beliefs and religions.
Interactive campus maps are a perfect way to help your school showcase its many facets and inclusive services, helping make all students and faculty feel welcome on campus.
Campus life can be a trying time for those who are recovering from addiction or have opted for sobriety. Interactive campus maps can be used to share available resources, from safe areas to recovery centers, complete with information about events, contact information, and other on-campus resources.
There are many ways to improve campus inclusivity, but it’s critical to make these resources easy to find for all.