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A Motion Mindset at the University Level

Updated on August 12, 2012

How Motion Affects Your University Experience

Whether you are a new freshman heading off to college or whether you are an alumnus revisiting your old stomping grounds, motion plays a huge part in your experience. A lengthy stay or a short visit will involve all types of activities, many requiring you to navigate long distances and multiple flights of stairs. While this will vary from one person's experience to another's, the reality is that most don't really think about how to get around or how much they will need to get around until actually faced with the moment. Trust me!

My college-bound daughter and I both navigated the university campus last week and were confronted with different motion related concerns relevant to our participation in activities related to the orientation session. Many observations and aching muscles later, I'm offering my insights on preparing yourself or your student for a campus visit, from a motion perspective.

***Images shown are my own, unless otherwise noted. The video, of course, is not mine.

How many ways to get around do you envision on a college campus?

Getting around campus is a big deal. The more spread out, the more challenging. The Lawlor Events Center at the University of Nevada Reno was one of the farthest places to go in my college days. Now, the center of activity is just across the parking lot and the busiest part of the campus in my days is more quiet than I could have imagined.

Getting around is more complicated as the campus buildings have expanded the areas students must reach. However, the university has addressed this nicely, providing a well-operated shuttle system to make the rounds so that students can easily get to class.

How many ways to get around campus? Unique ways? List your unique ideas in your comments.

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getting around campus
getting around campus

A Motion Mindset: Walking and Climbing

As you may imagine, one of the primary ways to get around campus is by foot. My feet re-learned this the hard way. I started off the day by getting halfway to the first session before realizing that I forgot my backpack at the residence hall. Back I trudged...up ramps, down steps, up hills. I was really annoyed with myself for the big oops, given I was so "familiar" with campus and wanted to look like I knew what I was doing. So much for that!

A four floor student union building didn't make the day any easier. Up the stairs. Down the stairs. Up the stairs. Down the stairs. Yes, there was an elevator. It's hard to break with the tide of eager college parents when you are in a stream moving to a next session. Oh, well. Poor calves!

Tips for Parents on Campus:

Wear comfy shoes.Take your time.Carry a water bottle. Not enough drinking fountains, but plenty of hydration stations.Don't leave your backpack. Consider carrying a messenger bag.Don't hustle out with the crowd.Tips for Students:Be patient with your parents.Carry a water bottle.Walk your schedule ahead of time.Explore during your first week. You'll be an expert and learn shortcuts.Ditch the flip flops for long days with lots of classes.Consider shoes with traction for snowy and freezing weather.Be patient with your parents.

Bike or No Bike?

I really wish I would have taken a bike when I went to school. I ended up using a friend's to get to a practicum assignment a few miles from campus, and I hated having to borrow. However, the higher ups these days say that a bike isn't needed on campus because of public transportation and shuttle services. Also, bikes are highly targeted for theft. Kids with $800 bikes use $3 locks and act surprised at their loss, so say the powers that be. Storage is another issue. Some like the freedom of having some way to get around on their own. Some shirk the responsibility of keeping their property secure. What say you?

Should a freshman bring a bike?


A little less debatable in that many freshmen don't need the hassle of trying to keep their cars on campus. Still, it's nice to have a ride, and getting to know a friend with a car meant that I could grocery shop or go to the mountains. By the time I student taught, having a car was a must.

Safety and Campus Transportation

In my days, the campus escort service was just getting started. Now, it thrives. Shuttles also run late into the evening. Smart use of such systems provides protection for students with late night classes or study plans. Encourage your freshman or upper level student to make use of such services. After all, their fees pay for them.

getting around campus
getting around campus

Robotics on Campus: Motion and Advancement in Student Services

One of the surprising areas that motion affects students differently today at my alma mater is in the use of robotics. The very visible setting is in the dining hall, where dirty dishes are moved along assembly line style. No window to dump the tray through. No chute for silverware. A mechanized system is caring for this maintenance issue.

More intriguing, however, is Mars. The robotic system in the school's library retrieves books from the central area by computer direction. Books don't have to be catalogued according to number systems any longer. Their position in a given bin is provided to the computer, the bin is stored, and the next time the book is needed it is retrieved robotically. My grandmother, a university librarian in her day, might have shuddered at the thought. It's interesting, to say the least, providing convenience and manageability in maintaining the university collection.

See University of Nevada's System in Action

getting around campus
getting around campus

A body at rest...

Of course, everyone on a campus needs a good place to cease from motion, and the student union is always a great place to rest and take a break. This one is equipped with a Starbucks on the first floor. No stairs to take a coffee break! For a variety of fast food options, though, there's a great food court. It's important to make sure that your student knows how to make the most of his or her meal plan, and it helps to point out that food bucks aren't meant for least not all of them.

Help your student examine his schedule, but recognize that it's time to stand, move and rest on his own. And that may mean some food bucks go toward a venti vanilla latté from time to time. As a matter of fact, that sounds pretty good right now!

Further College Reading from Sagebrush_mama

Sagebrush_mama spent several years working as a member of the residential life staff in her college years. Her perspectives are those of worker, student, and now, parent.

What are your motion related memories of college?

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    • CaztyBon profile image

      CaztyBon 4 years ago

      My College campus was small easy to get around by walking. Real nice lens!

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 5 years ago from Kansas

      Walking up flights of stairs to get to classes. Walking to classes, library, student union, dorm. Walking, walking, walking.

    • EditPhotos profile image

      Edit Photos 5 years ago from Earth

      My memories are too old, but packing up my daughter for college this week! Great article.

    • alex89 lm profile image

      alex89 lm 5 years ago

      I went to culinary school in a small town (Charlottetown, PEI) so I spent all my time moving, even when I was in class!

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      Walking - it's good for you! :) At the university where I worked until recently students were very much discouraged from having a car on campus, but bicycles were everywhere.

    • kburns421 lm profile image

      kburns421 lm 5 years ago

      Lots of walking! Nice lens :-)