Friday, July 25, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

The second senior class: New opportunities for colleges

Known at one time as Austin Hall, this former student residence at Ohio Wesleyan University has been converted into a living and intergenerational learning community for alumni, professors, friends of the university, and select Ohio Wesleyan students. Residents enjoy full use of the college's athletic and library facilities, can attend campus cultural and sporting events, and have the opportunity to audit college courses. Courtesy photo

By
From page A17 | November 18, 2012 |

By John L. Gann Jr.

To entice students, universities commonly boast of offering the “biggest,” the “oldest” or some comparable superlative.

Perhaps the campuses that most stand out, though, are those that can claim the ultimate adjective — the “only” — and maintain it for a long time.

Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, 20 miles north of Columbus, may not immediately come to mind in the superlatives department. But the 1,850-student campus became an “only” more than 20 years ago. Favorable national publicity notwithstanding, it remains one today. OWU runs the only college-affiliated mixed student/faculty/retiree housing facility in the United States. There may be a lesson here for other colleges.

Austin Manor, once a 150-room student residence slated for demolition, is now a four-story, 60-unit age-integrated apartment building home to about equal numbers of students, senior citizen alumni and working professionals plus a dozen faculty.

The mix is intentional — 20 units are reserved for students — and no age group is allowed to resegregate the building. Both student and non-student names appear on long waiting lists to get in.

Of course, private apartment buildings near many campuses nationwide unintentionally house both students and non-students, but usually the only experience the two groups share is writing the rent check every month. And age-restricted retirement developments are found near a number of campuses that have varying levels of attachment to the schools but no student residents.

Austin Manor is, however, a category by itself. It makes unmatriculated residents, who pay $500 to $1,400 monthly for their living units, in effect into honorary students living right on campus. They can daily associate with undergraduates, audit classes, attend theatrical and athletic events, and use campus swimming, exercise and dining facilities — all within walking distance.

Accidental innovation

Counterintuitively for an academic setting, Austin Manor is the product not of research or planning but of imaginative response to a happy accident.

In 1988, with his official residence not yet ready, incoming president David Warren moved temporarily into a campus dormitory. Studying at Yale, Warren had lived in an apartment building that was home to both students and older non-students. Impressed with both experiences, Warren reinvented a 1923 women’s dormitory as a permanent intergenerational residence.

Scholarly research affirms the benefits to elders of daily association with young people. Frequent contact with older adults who are neither faculty nor doting relatives likewise benefits students, since it is with such people that they will have to interact with successfully once out of school.

But despite this insight from the behavioral sciences, before OWU no college or university had made it apply to any campus housing. And none has since.

It’s not that it hasn’t been popular. Ruth Melvin, a 1932 graduate who lived in the building as a student and later as a retiree, contrasted retirement homes where “people go to die” with Austin Manor where “people come to live.”

For students, in the words of one living in Austin Manor, “there’s only so much information you can get from a class, but these people (older residents) have experienced life.”

Outside the box

In coming years it will be more incumbent than ever for colleges and universities to think outside the traditional academic box, as OWU has done, in putting its resources to productive use.

In many schools, student demand for campus lodging as well as other college services and amenities may well soften. High college costs and the growth of lower-cost distance learning programs that award both credits and degrees to students living anywhere are already starting to change the picture.

But college towns and university neighborhoods will still need people around — students, retirees, visitors  or working families — to support their economies. Retirement experiences in mixed-age settings are just one innovation colleges make possible that can help accomplish that.

Will we need to hope for more happy accidents like the origin of Austin Manor? Or can college and college town leaders find other ways to achieve innovative economic value? Those colleges and college towns are likely to do best that can make themselves into something special when a leafy four-year sanctuary for educating young people is no longer special enough.

— Austin Manor is among anecdotes about what colleges and college towns are doing, or could be doing, to strengthen and diversify their local economies included in John L. Gann’s book, “The Third Lifetime Place: A New Economic Opportunity for College Towns.” Reach him at citykid@uwalumni.com

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

.

News

Tech Trekkers boldly go into STEM fields

By Amy Jiang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Decoding breast milk secrets reveals clues to lasting health

By Pat Bailey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

California climate change policies to hit our pocketbooks

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

 
Davis braces for six days of scorching heat

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Appeals court upholds high-speed rail route

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

Carwash raises funds for funeral expenses

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Unitarians will host summer camp

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Artists, photographers invited to support Yolo Basin Foundation

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Sudwerk’s sales grow, floating on a sea of dry hop lager

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Wetlands visitors will see migrating shorebirds

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

‘Bak2Sac’ free train ride program launched

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Explorit: Wonderful wetlands right at home

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Recycle old paint cans for free

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Where your gas money goes

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A12

Americans, internationals make connections

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

 
Can you give them a home?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

STEAC needs donations of personal care items

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16, 1 Comment

 
.

Forum

Trio disagrees on best option

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Commenting system to change

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10, 32 Comments

 
Support these local restaurants

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Let’s get the bench repaired

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

Predicting climate changes

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Clinton’s book is worth a read

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 3 Comments

Thanks for emergency help

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
.

Sports

Hudson solid, Hamels better in Giants’ loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Petrovic, Putnam share Canadian Open lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Moss powers A’s past Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Enriquez brilliant, but Post 77 season ends with Area 1 loss

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
The un-Armstrong? Tour ‘boss’ Nibali wins Stage 18

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

Clyde Elmore: Art in the Wild

By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
‘A Most Wanted Man’: Superb espionage drama

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Musicians perform at Sunday service

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A17 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Accord’s latest model is most fuel efficient

By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
 
.

Obituaries

Mary Lita Bowen

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
James Thomas Feather

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Richard ‘Dick’ Robenalt

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
.

Comics

Comics: Friday, July 25, 2014

By Creator | From Page: A13

 
.

Real Estate Review

Featured Listing

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

Professional Services Directory

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

Remax

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

Sherman Home

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Tracy Harris

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Vaughan Brookshaw

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Lyon Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Julie Leonard

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

Ciana Wallace

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

Melrina A Maggiora

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Joe Kaplan

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Jo Vallejo

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Karen Waggoner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Jamie Madison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Malek Baroody

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

Carol Coder

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Diane Lardelli

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Jason Sull

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

Julie Partain

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Lisa Haass

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Leslie Blevins

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Yolo FCU

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

David Campos

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Heather Barnes

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Willowbank Park

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Kim Eichorn

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

Susan von Geldern

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

Open House Map

By jboydston | From Page: RER19

Chris Snow

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

Travis Credit Union

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

Patricia Echevarria

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Lynne Wegner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Kim Merrel Lamb

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Martha Bernauer

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Open House Map

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER23

F1rst Street Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24