FutureVU enters spring semester with focus on inclusion, sustainability and transportationby Melanie Moran | Dec. 14, 2016, 7:48 PM
More than 650 faculty, students, staff and trustees have participated in FutureVU, the university’s land use planning process, since its launch this fall, with multiple working groups forming now to develop detailed recommendations in the spring.
“I’m delighted with the rapid progress we are making as a community engaged in an elevated discussion on the future use of our sacred ground, our campus. Our plan integrally supports our vision for Vanderbilt to be a leader and a place where students from all corners of the globe come together with remarkable faculty and staff to live and learn in inspiring spaces that facilitate community and dialogue,” Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said. “Along with supporting a diverse and inclusive community, our plan is driven by the university’s deep commitment to sustainability—an area that touches every aspect of this work and into which we will delve further in the spring semester through a campus town hall and other discussion opportunities.
“Vanderbilt is in many ways an incubator of life-changing and community-changing concepts. By maximizing the utility of our precious land and determining its highest use, we have a tremendous opportunity to be an innovator and model of a sustainable and healthy living and learning environment,” he said.
FutureVU efforts are driven by the initiative’s guiding principles, which were released this fall and were endorsed by the Board of Trust.
“Together we’ve built a very strong foundation to inform the vision for our precious campus footprint and most importantly how it can be designed and developed to enhance the experience of every member of our academic community,” Eric Kopstain, vice chancellor for administration, said. “We are thrilled by the engagement and interest from every level of the university in FutureVU. I am grateful to all who are involved and look forward to hitting the ground running when we return from Winter Break.”
Key progress and accomplishments this semester include:
- Faculty Advisory Committee: Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos established the FutureVU Faculty Advisory Committee this fall. The group held its second meeting Dec. 9, at which faculty members held a deep-dive discussion regarding the university’s real estate strategy and transportation and parking. The group will continue its work in the spring.
- Graduate and Professional Student Housing Working Group: This working group, appointed by Zeppos to develop housing options for graduate and professional students that extend learning and collaboration beyond the classroom and laboratory, visited peer institutions, held multiple working sessions, and conducted student focus group meetings this fall and will hold additional meetings in the spring to produce recommendations for consideration by university leadership.
- Vanderbilt Student Government Collaboration: Kopstain and his colleagues have launched a partnership with Vanderbilt Student Government to gather feedback and engage more student voices in the planning process. In addition to the collaboration, Kopstain held several dinner sessions with undergraduate students this fall to share the vision of FutureVU and to get their feedback.
- Transportation Working Groups: Following an Oct. 28 town hall meeting on transportation held by Zeppos and by more than 130 members of the Vanderbilt community, more than 80 individuals signed up to participate in Transportation Working Groups. The groups, which are being facilitated by the Wond’ry, will include faculty, staff and students and will study and make recommendations on campus transportation needs and opportunities. A kick-off meeting will be held in January.
- Documentary and web portal: The Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning is working with the FutureVU team to create a short video documentary on land use and an interactive web portal including land use campus history and interviews.
- Community engagement: Zeppos, Kopstain, Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Beth Fortune and other Vanderbilt representatives met and discussed land use topics with Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and members of her administration. Vanderbilt leaders have also met with Metro Council members and will continue to meet with Nashville leaders throughout the FutureVU process. In addition, Kopstain is working with Vanderbilt’s Office of Community, Neighborhood and Government Relations to schedule meetings with neighborhood groups.
In addition to the items mentioned above, the spring semester will include a number of opportunities for engagement, including the sustainability town hall event and a land use “science fair.”
Melanie Moran, (615) 322-NEWS