College furniture affects the mental and physical wellbeing of those using it and must be used correctly to suit the situation and individual. Furniture can give comfort and discomfort in equal measure, requiring proper selection for the right function.
There is now a new term the “furniture effect” used when discussing how furniture affects users and the performance of the activities they may be engaged in. This is true for learners and has a bearing on their academic experience.
Furniture for relaxing
Lecture halls are purpose-designed for functionality and lectures can leave a student feeling stressed and in need of a place to wind down. Many universities have noted that lack of such spaces drives students off the campus to public recreation places and lose valuable study time in the process.
Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC decided to use furniture to create a better experience for students on campus. They hired Dan Biederman, a parks’ planner, to redesign their public spaces for this purpose.
He installed metal chairs and tables, a solar piano, game tables, and outdoor reading areas under covered eaves. The students loved them and they were an instant hit drawing and retaining them on campus.
Fosters student interaction
Hallways and lounges can encourage student socialization if appropriately and tastefully selected. Other than standing around in hallways in between classes, provide nooks and alcoves with cozy seats and low tables where students can sit in clusters for short rests as they chat. Those waiting for their next class can also revise in the hallway near the lecture room in comfort.
Cedar Valley Community College, Dallas refurbished a hitherto unused student lounge bringing new furniture, game tables, and TV. Suddenly it was swamped by students who preferred spending their time there than venture off the campus.
Good furniture for good health
Good furniture for college can help preserve students’ overall health and wellbeing. Poor choice of seats can cause back-related health complications for students in later life. Poor seat quality can also affect the user’s concentration in what they are doing and discourage attendance.
Creating quality furniture for the outdoors is great for student health as it helps relieve stress while studying in the open fresh air spaces.
Having seats with good back support in the lecture halls can help students sit through long lectures without suffering any complications. Tables at correct heights are also good for the wellbeing of the upper body when writing. Students deserve good education furniture for a better academic experience in college.
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Correct furniture for students with physical challenges
Exercise great care when selecting furniture for students with disabilities. To give them a better academic experience furniture that addresses their special needs is important. Most universities now have a Disability Resources for Students department to supply appropriate furniture for these students.
Recommended furniture must meet DRS standards and be placed in time for the students to use in class. A similar provision must be made for spaces other than the classroom as well. The furniture must include adjustable height tables, stools, padded and adjustable chairs, and special podiums to help the student participate fully in the learning experience.
Furniture for social engagement
Traditional halls of residence on campus do not foster student socialization since, in most cases, they lack comfortable common rooms. Students could only visit each other in their rooms, which is often an uncomfortable intrusion into individual privacy.
Creating a comfortable lounge akin to a family room on each level of the residence gives students a place to hang out, watch TV together, or simply chat with friends.
The University of the South, Tennessee, created just such a place and its impact on students was instantaneous. The university created a nice cozy family room with upholstered seats, TV, and a kitchen where students could whip up a snack conveniently. This family room has never been empty ever since and students love it.
The effect of furniture on the student’s academic experience can be demonstrated by some universities’ reaction to these innovations. Besides a pleasant experience for students, proper furniture in the right spaces for select purposes will help retain them on campus as intended.