Promoting student success: Making place matter to student success

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Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research
Some campuses have a "special" feel about them. Students are quick to mention that they cannot imagine a better place for them personally or--for that matter--any better setting for a college or university. The college has become their home away from home, the place they'd rather be than any other. Generations of graduates return for reunion weekends, passing through familiar buildings and pausing at favorite spots that evoke fond recollections of what was a very meaningful time in their lives. Built structures and memories are inextricably intertwined to form deep emotional ties to the institution and to those with whom they shared this place. Colleges and universities with such a palpable sense of place also have salutary effects on student success. In a uniquely human way, this powerful connection to something larger than oneself encourages students to engage with faculty, staff, and peers in meaningful ways and compels graduates to give back to alma mater by contributing their time, talents, and resources. Administrators at other colleges long to understand and create the conditions that bond people so tightly to the institution and to one another during and after graduation.
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