In October 1998 the Board of Trustees voted to undertake a review of residential life at Lawrence. The trustees established the Task Force on Residential Life (Task Force) and charged it to review residential life at Lawrence and to make suggestions to the trustees about future directions and priorities. The membership of the Task Force was determined following a process of consultation with the Lawrence University Community Council, the Faculty Committee on University Governance, and the Lawrence University Alumni Association Board of Directors. The following individuals, drawn from the student body, faculty, administration, and alumni of the college, agreed to serve:
Michael Orr, Co-chair, Associate Professor of Art History
Nancy Truesdell, Co-chair, Dean of Students
Kenneth Bozeman, Professor of Music
David Brown, Director of Athletics
Michael Cisler, '78
Beth DeStasio, '83, Associate Professor of Biology
Susan Detienne, '68
Kathleen Dreyfus, '02
Jennifer Mallory, '00 (Term III, 1998-99)
Brad Manning, '00
T.J. Ow, '00 (Term I, 1999-2000)
Alan Parks, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Jeffrey Riester, '70, Trustee
Jenee Rowe, '00
Soozung Sa, '89
Eli Salembier, '00
Judith Sarnecki, Associate Professor of French
Paul Shrode, Associate Dean of Students for Activities
Joseph Troy, '76
Throughout the winter and early spring of 1999, the Task Force, with the assistance of the Trustee Committee on Student Affairs, worked to identify topics and concerns to be examined in greater detail and to organize itself for the work ahead, including setting a timetable for its operations. In setting more specific directions for its work, the Task Force decided to focus primarily on the student experience of residential life. While other topics (admissions, retention, athletics, the role of alcohol, etc.) might be considered to have an impact on residential life, the Task Force concluded that its work would best serve the trustees' purposes if the focus was confined primarily to issues, unmet needs, and aspirations in the areas of housing, food services, and community life.
In the course of refining the Task Force's charge, the Task Force and the Trustee Committee on Student Affairs agreed on some things that would not fall within the scope of the study. While the Task Force would examine the Lawrence University Community Council's role in the selection of student rooms and related input into housing activities, it was determined that a broader review of LUCC lay beyond the scope of its work. Similarly, the Task Force decided not to conduct a wholesale review of the structure and efficacy of administrative support for residential life.
To facilitate its work, the Task Force initially divided itself into three working subcommittees, which focused, respectively, on housing, food service, and community life. A fourth group of Task Force members studied the underlying principles on which the college's residential philosophy is based and drafted a statement of principles that articulates the underlying beliefs of the college about why residential life is important to the fulfillment of Lawrence's educational mission. The Trustee Committee on Student Affairs approved this statement in October 1999. The statement has subsequently formed a frame of reference for the Task Force's deliberations.
The Task Force engaged in a number of preliminary information-gathering activities, such as reviewing past studies and reports on residential life, touring residential and food service facilities, and observing the housing lottery. This initial phase of its work was completed by the end of the summer of 1999. During the fall, the Task Force began a more formal and structured solicitation of input from students, staff, faculty, and alumni. A student opinion survey was mailed to every student currently enrolled on the Lawrence campus and written surveys were distributed to faculty and staff. Two follow-up listening sessions were conducted with interested students. Alumni input was gathered through e-mails, listening sessions held with members of the LUAA Board of Directors and the alumni club in the Twin Cities. Further listening sessions are scheduled to be held with the Fox Cities, Chicago, Madison, and Milwaukee area alumni clubs. Parents also provided opinions and ideas to the Task Force at a focus group held during Family Weekend.
As part of the initial research and inquiry process, the Task Force also gathered qualitative information on where Lawrence stands in terms of housing, food services, and related matters. Site visits to Ripon, St. Norbert, Grinnell, Macalester, Carleton, and St. Olaf Colleges provided the Task Force with information on a variety of residential models and practices.
During the past year it has become increasingly clear to the Task Force that the issues involved in attempting to strengthen our students' out-of-classroom experience are closely intertwined. The Task Force has become keenly aware that formulating recommendations to address issues of equity, growing student dissatisfaction with food service, overcrowding in our residence halls, concern that our housing stock does not provide a sufficient variety of living options to satisfy student interests and needs, and the urgent need to renovate our student union or build a new facility cannot be undertaken in isolation from each other. Change in any one of these areas impacts others. In the course of its deliberations, the Task Force has concluded that any final recommendations it makes will be based on a number of points of consensus that it has already reached. Since our final recommendations will depend so heavily on acceptance of these points of consensus by the Board, we have decided to bring this report to the Board for review at this time. If the Board accepts the report and endorses our findings, the Task Force can move forward with its work and develop more specific recommendations in consultation with the administration. If it does not, the Task Force must return to these issues before proceeding further. Although the Task Force believes it is timely for the Board to consider this interim report, it wishes to emphasize that not all areas currently under review are reflected here and that the report does not represent a long-term prioritization of needs.
"Learning, it cannot be too often repeated, is a way of life. That being so, we must pay attention to how students live. The college home is educational, or it is not." (Henry M. Wriston, The Nature of the Liberal College, Appleton, 1937, p. 118)
In calling for the formation of the Task Force on Student Residential Life, the Lawrence Board of Trustees characterized this element of the college as a "defining aspect of our style of undergraduate education" and as "a central component of our educational mission." Throughout the review to date, the members of the Task Force have kept uppermost in their minds the Trustees' endorsement of the centrality of residential life for the identity and mission of the college. The Task Force agreed early on in its deliberations that, in order better to understand the place of residential life at Lawrence, it should carefully review the philosophy that undergirds the residential nature of the college. No attempt has been made to articulate such a philosophy of residential life at the college since the 1971 Report of the Committee on the Residential Nature of the University and the work of the 1976-77 Long-Range Planning Task Force. Furthermore, no precise statement of the principles that inform and govern residential life appears in any current University publication.
Given that the residential character of the college is widely understood to be central to Lawrence's educational mission, the Task Force believes that the principles, goals, and aspirations governing it should be articulated and given greater prominence. The Task Force concluded, therefore, that it should examine these principles, draft a statement reflecting them, and encourage its dissemination in published form.
The 1971 Report of the Committee on the Residential Nature of the University offered a definition of the residential nature of the University that focused on the concept of interaction. "Education is immeasurably enhanced by interaction between people engaged in the educational process, and the residential philosophy provides the greatest opportunity for interaction. A basic proposition underlying this discussion is that students living in campus residences interact among themselves and with faculty members more often and perhaps more significantly than students living off campus." The report went on to articulate three reasons for the desirability of such interactions: (1) an educational institution is an academic community concerned with the exchange and challenge of ideas and thought in all areas of experience; (2) the interactions that take place on our residential campus provide role models for individual development; (3) individual and group interactions stimulate an environment of analysis, challenge, and synthesis and sustain the vitality of the individual and the institution. The report concluded with the statement, "we learn as we live."
The Task Force strongly endorses these sentiments. Nevertheless, as suggested above, it is timely to revisit that definition of residential life. In carrying out its review of residential principles, the Task Force assessed various Lawrence publications, reviewed professional literature on the residential liberal arts college, collected statements about residential philosophy from peer institutions, and discussed the issue extensively.
Lawrence University is a residential college by design. Students are required to live on-campus because we believe that a small residential community distinguished by frequent face-to-face interactions between and among its members provides an ideal environment for accomplishing the goals of liberal education. Lawrence's residential nature maintains and expands the opportunities for meaningful interactions outside the classroom and, in so doing, contributes to the fulfillment of Lawrence's mission to promote among students "the development of intellect and talent, the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and the cultivation of judgment and values." Furthermore, meaningful relationships between students and faculty, among students, and within the Lawrence community at large preserve and extend the vitality of the institution.
Therefore, residential life at Lawrence should strive to:
(1) Enhance the academic community by sustaining an environment that
- fosters the exchange and evaluation of ideas and opinions,
- supports vigorous debate, and
- promotes critical examination of the assumptions and values of its members.
(2) Encourage and facilitate the interaction of students, faculty, and staff in order to
- strengthen the intellectual and social environment of the college,
- provide role-models for individual development, and
- support the establishment of meaningful relationships and long-lasting friendships.
(3) Advance the personal and intellectual growth of individuals.
(4) Nurture an inclusive environment that
- promotes mature and responsible behavior,
- values diversity and tolerance for differences, and
- encourages mutual respect and understanding.
(5) Support and encourage student leadership, independence, self-governance, and accountability
(6) Ensure equitable residential and social opportunities for all students.
(7) Provide opportunities for students to create and participate in a rich variety of co- and extra-curricular activities.
(8) Contribute to a safe and healthful campus environment.
The Task Force intends to use this statement of principles as a frame of reference as it develops recommendations to improve the quality of student residential life and addresses issues of equity. Although the Trustee Committee on Student Affairs has previously accepted this statement, endorsement of the principles by the full board will provide the Task Force with a firm foundation for the challenging work that lies ahead.
In the October 1998 Charge, the Board of Trustees declared that one of the reasons for undertaking a comprehensive review of residential life was to make sure that the college is "fair and equitable in its treatment of all students in the allocation of resources and the provision of housing, dining options, and co- and extra-curricular opportunities." The Board went on to state that, following completion of the review, it planned to implement policies that would "provide enhanced and equitable social and residential opportunities for all students." Given the emphasis on equity in its charge, the Task Force has spent a considerable amount of time discussing the issue in relation to residential life at Lawrence. In drafting its statement of principles for residential life, the Task Force endorsed the goal of ensuring "equitable residential and social opportunities for all students."
So far in its consideration of equity, the Task Force has focused on studying the provision of housing and food service options to student groups and organizations. It is clear to the Task Force that one group is treated quite differently from all others with respect to housing: fraternities. Individual units of university-owned housing with kitchen and dining facilities are provided to fraternity chapters on a long-term open-ended basis. No other student organization is accorded "ownership" of its housing on the same basis. The nearest parallel can be found in the arrangements for the co-op house in which a multi-year commitment was made to allocate the house for co-operative living (provided enough members could be found each year) and permit transfer of board dollars. There are several clear differences, however: (a) the co-op house was originally established through LUCC legislation, (b) members of the co-op house must provide annual reports to the Residence Life Committee of LUCC on their progress, and (c) space for the co-op house was allocated by LUCC for a limited term (until 1999-2000). By contrast, LUCC plays no role in fraternity use of the Quad.
As part of its work, the Task Force examined the history behind the allocation of the Quad to the fraternities. Before 1941, Lawrence fraternity members had lived off-campus in private houses. President Henry Merritt Wriston (1925-37) believed, however, that the college would better fulfill the residential aspects of its mission if arrangements were made to accommodate fraternity members on campus. During the course of the 1930's, negotiations ensued between the college and the fraternities regarding the relinquishment of the private fraternity houses in exchange for occupancy privileges in five new buildings. Plans were devised and financing was arranged: of the total cost of approximately $285,000, $85,000 was contributed by donors; $55,000 was covered by the value of the surrendered fraternity houses; and $145,000 was borrowed from the endowment or represented deficit spending. By 1941 the quadrangle had been built, fraternity members had moved on campus and contracts to memorialize the arrangement had been executed and delivered by the parties. Approximately 20 years later an additional house was added to the Quad to accommodate the Phi Gamma Delta chapter. When the Fijis de-colonized, the building was added to general housing inventory and later became Draheim House.
In contrast to the arrangements for fraternity residences, Lawrence has never provided separate housing for sororities. Although a Trustee Committee on Sorority Housing existed for much of the 1940's, it appears to have focused its attention on examining facilities for business and social activities only. As far as the Task Force has been able to determine, no recommendation was ever made to construct housing for sororities. When Colman Hall was built in the 1950's, the plans included a sorority wing to provide meeting rooms and a common kitchen (Colman Panhellenic Wing).
In looking at the history of the Quad, the Task Force also gathered information on the pattern of student membership in Greek organizations. Since the 1960's, membership in Greek organizations at Lawrence has declined. In 1960, 58% of the student body was affiliated with Greek organizations (53% of men and 63% of women) but by 1970 that figure had declined to 38% (42% of men and 34% of women). In 1980 only 29% of the student body was Greek-affiliated (31% of men and 28% of women). During the 1980's there was increased interest in Greek organizations and by 1990 38% of students were members (43% of men and 32% of women). In the course of the 1990's numbers have declined somewhat with 26% of students affiliating in 1998 (35% of men and 18% of women). Although interest in Greek organizations at Lawrence remains strong, it is clear that the overwhelming majority of our students do not choose to affiliate.
As the Task Force has discussed how issues of equity pertain to the provision of housing to student groups and organizations, it has agreed on some working principles to guide its final recommendations. The Task Force supports the principle that our students are entitled to associate freely and form groups and organizations of their own choosing. Student organizations contribute significantly to many of the goals of residential life enumerated in the Task Force's "Principles of Residential Life." In particular, student-run organizations "support and encourage student leadership, independence, self-governance and accountability" and "provide opportunities for students to create and participate in a rich variety of co- and extra-curricular activities."
In addition, the Task Force endorses the current practice of permitting small groups of students to live together in college-owned housing (as facilities allow). The Task Force recognizes, however, that the control and allocation of residential space play a central role in issues of equity. We have concluded that no student group or organization should have a permanent claim to occupancy in any unit of college-owned housing and that allocating residential space to groups for specific periods of time (perhaps varying from one year to a number of years and being subject to renewal) will result in greater equity and accountability.
The Task Force believes that small group living units such as the co-op house, theme houses, and fraternities have the potential to facilitate the kind of interaction that "strengthen(s) the intellectual and social environment of the college" and "support(s) the establishment of meaningful relationships and long-lasting friendships." Consequently, the Task Force has established the goal of extending more broadly the opportunity for students to experience the benefits and rewards of small group living.
In order to fulfill its residential mission, Lawrence should ensure that it provides a high quality food service that is responsive to student needs.
In evaluating food service at Lawrence, the Task Force interviewed food services staff, reviewed previous surveys (1997 Food and Food Service at Lawrence survey, 1999 WCATY survey, 1998 HEDS survey), and conducted its own survey of student opinion. On many occasions, members of the Task Force ate at Downer, Lucinda's, and the Grill. Catered events were also assessed.
Task Force members were impressed with the dedication and enthusiasm displayed by food services employees. Although they identified the challenges presented by outdated, inadequate physical facilities and lack of modern equipment, they demonstrated commitment to their jobs and to the students they serve.
A number of important issues regarding management and leadership of food services emerged from the Task Force's examination. A comprehensive vision and overall plan for the future direction of food services is lacking. Management needs to adopt a customer service orientation that is more responsive to student needs. The current decentralized operational structure separating Downer, Lucinda's, and the Grill staff needs to be replaced with a collaborative model that encourages communication among staff and values student input. Every successful food service operation we observed relies on a visible, accessible "out-front" manager who interacts directly with students and welcomes and appreciates student input.
Food service facilities need to be significantly upgraded. The present physical layout of Downer prevents adequate service delivery and appealing food presentation. The "line delivery" concept is outdated and unattractive to current students who as consumers are accustomed to variety, choice, and value for the dollar. Today's college student requires flexibility in meal plan options, menu items, food delivery, and hours of service. It is clear from Task Force interviews and observations (as well as student opinion) that our current food service does not adequately meet the needs of today's Lawrentians.
The Task Force has explored a number of ways to address issues of management, leadership, facilities, communication, and food preparation/delivery. Introduction of a debit card system, expanded vegetarian and vegan menu items, installation of food service "platforms" to replace traditional serving lines, upgrade of smaller kitchens in residential settings on campus, and recognition of changing student eating patterns would improve the quality of the dining experience for students. The Task Force has investigated the advantages and drawbacks of contracted food management versus self-operation and has concluded that one way to address many of the weaknesses in our current food service operation would be to engage the services of a contract food management company. Members of the Task Force experienced contract food services during visits to Ripon and Carleton Colleges (Sodexho-Marriott) and St. Olaf and Macalester Colleges (Bon Appetit). In addition, the Task Force met with representatives of one contract food management company.
A contract food operation is able to draw on the resources of a large corporation's management team, culinary and overhead support, extensive research and development, savings in food procurement costs, and proven training. Most of the problems commonly identified as inherent in outsourcing of food services can be avoided through an effectively written contractual agreement, and model contracts are available to colleges.
However it is achieved, a significant and immediate improvement in food service at Lawrence is needed to demonstrate a clear commitment to enhancing the quality of student life. In order to offer a definitive recommendation on improving food service, the Task Force requires further information from contract food management companies. Although the Task Force believes that engaging the services of a contract food management company could lead to an immediate and significant improvement in food service at Lawrence, it is unclear whether the benefits of outsourcing justify the costs involved. With the additional information provided by a cost-benefit analysis of contracted food service, the Task Force would be able to assess whether a substantially improved food service could best be achieved in-house or through outsourcing.
Current on-campus housing at Lawrence consists of six major residence halls, five fraternity houses, seven small houses, one quad building (Draheim) for women, and, as emergency housing, two floors of Brokaw Hall. Members of the Task Force have carried out a detailed assessment of the housing stock. Task Force members have visited all residence halls, most small and theme houses, and all fraternities. In each building, common spaces (hallways, lounges, kitchens, laundry facilities, etc.) and student rooms were examined. Information was also gathered from student surveys, informal conversations with students, and interviews with administrative staff.
The Task Force has identified a number of positive aspects about our current arrangements for housing. Lawrence successfully integrates different class years within most of our residence units. The presence of singles in our residence halls plays a key role in encouraging seniors to live among freshmen and sophomores in buildings such as Plantz and Trever. In contrast to many other schools, Lawrence has successfully built a sense of community within our residential facilities among different classes. As we contemplate possible improvements to residential facilities, the Task Force is committed to maintaining and strengthening this sense of community. Although Sage is one of our most desirable residence halls, perhaps more importantly, no one residence hall is universally disliked. Options such as small/theme houses, the fraternity Quad, and substance-/smoke-free residences have all proven popular.
Nevertheless, our impression is that it has been too long since Lawrence invested significant resources into student residential facilities. The most recently built residence hall, Kohler, was completed in 1967. The most recent major residence hall renovation, the conversion of Sage and Ormsby to their current configuration, was done through a HUD grant in 1971-1972. Since then, maintenance of roofs, windows, etc. has been undertaken, but no significant renovation or new construction has been done in the past 27 years. In contrast, we have noted that other schools have invested significant resources in renovating existing housing and building new residential facilities with innovative designs. Task Force members believe that inadequacies in our current housing put Lawrence at a competitive disadvantage.
It is also clear that we do not have a sufficient number of rooms if we maintain an enrollment of approximately 1200. We currently have beds for 1076 students and maintain occupancy rates at an undesirable level of approximately 95%. We are only able to accommodate the need for housing at present by utilizing student guestrooms, lounges in residence halls (occasionally), and, most significantly, the top two floors of Brokaw. In the judgment of the Task Force, the quality of the residential facilities offered in Brokaw falls below an acceptable level.
Total number of beds currently available:
Residence halls: 856 *
Small/theme houses: 78
* Overflow housing in Brokaw not included
The Task Force has determined that establishing a realistic and appropriate occupancy rate should be the first step in calculating institutional need for additional housing. Maintaining a high occupancy rate creates a number of problems beyond simple overcrowding. A high occupancy rate places constraints on flexibility in allocating rooms, particularly with regard to gender-specific floors. Competition for desirable housing is increased and makes the lottery process an unduly stressful time for students. Due to pressure for space, students who plan to study off-campus lose their place in the lottery. The Task Force has even heard that pressure on housing is so strong that some students, who would otherwise participate in off-campus study programs, choose to stay at Lawrence in order to ensure they receive a better room in the lottery. Not knowing the exact size of the incoming freshman class until late in September creates a complicating factor exacerbated by a high occupancy rate. An occupancy rate closer to 90% would allow us to avoid overcrowding and permit appropriate flexibility in the allocation of rooms. This change would materially improve the residential experience for our students.
Using a 90% occupancy rate, we can currently house only 968 students.
Number of full-time students (excluding those studying on off-campus programs): 1100
Number of students living off-campus: 50
Number of students requiring accommodation: 1050
Shortfall in housing: 1050 - 968 = 82
In order to house all students requiring accommodation (while maintaining 90% occupancy), we need a minimum of 90 additional beds.
1076 (Current number of beds) + 90 (additional beds) = 1166
90% of 1166 = 1050
Although the Task Force is not yet ready to make a firm recommendation to adopt a 90% occupancy rate, it is clear that significant additional capacity in housing will be required. These calculations do not take into account future renovation of existing residence halls. Renovation of any existing residence hall will likely result in the loss of some beds (as a result of converting rooms to suites, adding singles, expanding lounges and other common spaces, etc.) and further increase the need for new housing.
In examining the issue of renovation of existing facilities, the Task Force has become aware of a problem with our current system of hall maintenance. We seem to have a conflict between the need to do annual maintenance of our facilities (painting, repairs, etc.) during the summer and the housing demands of summer conferences. The Task Force believes that the scheduling of summer conferences should be better coordinated with the annual maintenance and re-decoration of residential facilities. Maintaining the utility and attractiveness of our student residential facilities directly contributes to our educational mission. That mission should take priority over summer conference scheduling.
The Task Force believes that any new or renovated housing should maintain the integration of class years while providing a greater variety of housing options than is currently available. We are considering options such as increasing the number of small/theme houses, expanding the mix of suites, singles, and doubles, and adding apartment-style housing. The campus plan developed by Sasaki Associates proposed that Brokaw Hall be returned exclusively to residential use and that a suite-style configuration be considered. Our initial studies suggest that that is an attractive option. Significant renovation of Brokaw or any other current residence hall will require that it be taken off-line during construction. Our ability to do that will depend upon the availability of new or alternative housing that can function as overflow housing. In the case of Brokaw, alternative space for administrative offices would also have to be found. The Task Force anticipates making specific recommendations concerning renovation of existing facilities and construction of new units of housing in its final report.
The Task Force has agreed that residential life at Lawrence should strive to "provide opportunities for students to create and participate in a rich variety of co- and extra-curricular activities." Members of the Task Force believe that involvement in campus activities can play a central role in students' social and personal growth and that participation in student groups and clubs fosters leadership, interpersonal skills, independence, and accountability.
Members of the Task Force conducted interviews with student leaders from a sampling of the more than 80 student clubs and organizations presently active on campus. For the most part, student groups function as autonomous units with self-defined purposes and activities. The level of interest and participation in various organizations ebbs and flows with time, and those that thrive seem to enjoy consistent, active student leadership. It has been difficult for some of the smaller student groups to sustain vitality when one or two active members leave campus for a term to study abroad and no other student steps up to fill the vacant leadership role.
Although the data from the Task Force's Student Opinion Survey have not yet been fully analyzed, it is apparent that students appreciate the number and variety of student organizations on campus and value highly the time they spend socializing with each other. The survey data, together with information gathered at student listening sessions held following the survey, confirm that Lawrence students are generally satisfied with campus social life. An overwhelming majority of respondents to the survey indicate that participating in campus organizations is important to their satisfaction with social life at college. Students express a desire to socialize with friends at mealtimes (further evidence that improvement in food services would enhance the quality of the student out-of-classroom experience), and they indicate that a significant amount of time each week is spent studying, partying, or simply spending time with friends. The Task Force is examining ways in which student, faculty, and staff interaction can "support the establishment of meaningful relationships and long-lasting friendships," one of the principles of residential life that the Task Force has identified.
The principal areas of concern regarding student social life that the Task Force is currently examining relate to meeting space and facilities. Group meeting space is minimal on campus, and most meeting rooms in Downer and the Union are heavily scheduled. Common space in many residence halls and small houses is limited, unattractive, poorly furnished, and, in some cases, non-existent due to overcrowded living conditions or the physical layout of the facilities. Fraternities enjoy ample social space in the kitchen/dining areas and living rooms, but that space is typically perceived as available only for chapter-sponsored functions or parties. The Coffeehouse in Memorial Union and meeting rooms in Diversity Center provide relatively new social spaces available to students, and they are popular meeting places. In each case, students had considerable involvement in the design of the space and provided input as to furnishings and décor.
In 1988 the Board of Trustees discussed renovation and expansion of the Union in order to accommodate campus needs more effectively. President Warch charged the Memorial Union Program Development Committee with the task of assessing the usage and limitations of Memorial Union. Although plans for a substantial renovation of the Union were developed, other campus needs subsequently took priority and renovation was deferred. It is clear to members of the Task Force that, in the intervening ten years, the need for student meeting and gathering space has only increased. Students express interest in a campus center that would include a coffeehouse, 24-hour study or lounge space, performance and programming areas, office and storage space for campus organizations, common areas for student organization meetings and student socializing, a bookstore, and access to food service.
Visits to other colleges have informed Task Force members about ways in which campus centers and common meeting areas can have a positive impact on the quality of student life at residential colleges. It is clear that much of campus social life occurs during meals and at late night gatherings when students need a break from their academic pursuits. The lack of recent investment in a new or renovated campus center seems to put Lawrence at a competitive disadvantage when prospective students compare our facilities to those at other institutions and current students report a lack of suitable formal and informal meeting space. Although the Task Force has not yet formulated specific recommendations in the area of campus life, it is clear that a new or substantially renovated campus center is essential to enhance the quality of student residential life at Lawrence. A recommendation addressing the need for a new or renovated campus center will be included in the Task Force's final report.