My Best Failed Idea: Campus Sanctuaries

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My Best Failed Idea: Campus Sanctuaries

We have all had good ideas that have failed to take root.  A Tweet from Jamie Baker today reminded me of a GREAT idea that I had that was too radical at the time, but maybe others can take advantage of it.

If you are planning a campus building project, big or small, what about creating small spots in strategically located places that are sanctuaries in time and space.  These spots, perhaps just a bench or patch or garden or a small group of seating in a reflective location, are designated as no-work, no-meeting, no-school-business zones.  Adults and students are all welcome to be there.  Perhaps they will be places of quiet; perhaps for face-to-face alternatives to texts, Tweets, and emails.  They are marked by a row of rocks or a different color to the carpet so they are known and respected. Actively encourage their use by all: faculty, custodial staff, office workers, and students across grade levels.  Make it a big deal.  Build them and they will come.

If we are serious about balancing our lives and those of our students, why not make this small, yet highly visible change in our culture and physical presence?

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  1. boadams1 May 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    One “best failed idea” that comes to mind is the four-color white-board marker. Years ago, my economics students and I created product prototypes. My sample was a four-color white-board marker…like those Bic four-color pens with the four plunger ink cartridges. We got a nice set of rejection letters from Bic! But the students loved the processes.

    I liked the Flash Cart idea that we pitched at RE: ED Imagining the Libraries of the 21st Century.

    And 3rd: Freaky Friday school days –

    Oh, and open networking for my school.

  2. Steve Goldberg May 29, 2012 at 12:35 am - Reply

    I have been thinking a lot about solitude lately — our world moves so fast, that having places to sit and think and just “be” seems incredibly important. The space we’re looking at for TLC middle school could lend itself to having such spaces — both indoor and outdoor. Thanks for the idea!

    • glichtman May 29, 2012 at 12:39 am - Reply

      We can discuss more; I actually wrote this up as a thought early in our campus redevelopment program, but it got swept away by other grand ideas. I should have dug in my heels more! I think people now are thinking more about the need for reflection and contemplation more than they were a decade ago, and so maybe are more willing to create the spaces.

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