Make Way for Millennials!
How Today’s Students are Shaping HigherEducation Space
From generations in perspectives, through generational cycles, and on to the influence of Millennials on campus space.
by Persis C.Rickes
is founder and presidentof Rickes Associates, a higher educationplanning firm focused on master planning,strategic planning, classroom utilizationstudies, and space programming. Prior toestablishing the firm in 1991, she wasdirector of planning for the University ofConnecticutsystem. Over the past 17 years,she has worked with more than 150 collegeand university campuses in the UnitedStates and internationally. An active memberof the Society for College and UniversityPlanning (SCUP) for more than two decades,she has held a number of regional andnational posts in the association.In additionto pre-conference and concurrentsessionpresentations at SCUP, she has also beenan invited speaker at other professionalassociation meetings.
he monikers are many: Generation Y, EchoBoomers, GenMe, the Net Generation, RenGen,and Generation Next. One name that appears to begaining currency is “Millennials,” perhaps as a way to betterdifferentiate the current generation from its predecessor,Generation X. Millennials are those individuals born between1982 and 2002, give or take a couple of years (Howe andStrauss 2000, 2007). They represent a generation thatbegan to spill onto college and university campuses at theturn of the millennium and have already had a subtle—andsometimes not so subtle—impact on campus space.Millennials now influence space planning, design, andconstruction and will continue to transform highereducation as they return to campus as faculty and staff.
Generations in Perspective
The Baby Boomers have garnered much of the press inrecent years given their sheer numbers, although wewere clearly reminded by Tom Brokaw of the incalculablecontributions of the G.I. or “Greatest” Generation. Howdo the Millennials fit into the historical constellation ofgenerations? Although an entire generation cannot beuniformly categorized, it is clear that generational cohortshave some values and traits in common given their sharedsocial and historical experiences. The dividing datesbetween cohorts are not rigid—and, indeed, individuals onthe generational “cusps” share traits from neighboringgenerations—but there is rough agreement regarding howthese cohorts are distributed over time. Following are briefCopyright © Society for College and University Planning (SCUP). All rights reserved. | Planning for Higher Education