Forget Classrooms. How Big Is the Atrium in the New Student Center?

” Having lost its sense of being a rather oversized living room, the student center has assumed something of the impersonal quality of a visitors’ center at a national park, or a bus terminal — buildings whose task it is to orient strangers. And, in truth, the student center is designed in large measure for strangers. It must serve not only college students but also prospective students. And while it is the former who will use the building regularly, it is the latter who, in the scheme of things — even though many will visit it no more than once — matter most….As students increasingly select colleges based on what they can see, colleges will spend more money on that which can be seen. Rigor in the classroom and intellect in the faculty cannot easily be seen — certainly not as easily as a fitness center or a three-story granite fireplace.” Michael J. Lewis
Forget Classrooms. How Big Is the Atrium in the New Student Center? (Chronicle)

As a high school senior visiting friends who were freshmen at the University of Virginia, I remember tagging along with Christine Ziegler to a materials science lecture. I remember the lecture was about different kinds of deformation in matter, and I recently came across the notes I took. I don’t remember visiting the student center, but UVa’s Central Grounds was pretty much all the eye candy I needed.