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Student survey on study sanctuaries

Miami students prefer specific study conditions, university accommodates

By Sam Hunter, For The Miami Student

Although the Association of American Colleges and Universities reports that nationwide, students are studying less every year, most students at Miami still study every day. An online survey with approximately 100 respondents reported 90 percent of students study every day, and only one percent study just once a week.

Students also study in a variety of locations. While 56 percent stay in their residence halls or apartments, 44 percent trek to various locations on campus. King Library and Armstrong Student Center were the most popular choices at 29 percent and nine percent, respectively. The remaining six percent study in various venues such as the Wertz Art & Architecture Library, B.E.S.T. Library, or academic buildings like Farmer School of Business or Alumni Hall.

First-year Cameron Vaské has studied at many of those locations and more.

"I've studied all over campus: dining halls, Armstrong tables and cubes, the first and second floors of King, King Café, in my dorm study lounge, in my room, in other people's rooms and once out in the outdoor auditorium," he said. "There's a study that I read that posits when you read in various different environments, your brain associates the information with that environment and it makes it easier to learn."

He said he usually chooses his study location based on how he's feeling and what type of assignment he needs to get done.

"If I'm feeling absolutely exhausted and not feeling ambitious, but I have to do a ton of reading, I'll stay in bed," he said. "When I need to write a paper and I'm ahead of schedule, I'll take the time to go to King. I'll get coffee and just type and do some intense, in-depth research and use the whole table. I like a wide, flat table with a lot of space. For reading, I like to be able to lounge."

Other Miami students cite a range of issues they consider when choosing a place to study. Forty-eight percent said quietness is their No. 1 factor, and another 35 percent said they were most concerned about how far a location was from their room.

Katie Wilson, director of Armstrong Student Center, said students' ability to study was a major consideration for Armstrong before it was built. After Armstrong was opened, the building administration worked to ensure that students were still able to work.

"We realized that the third floor printing in Shriver would be going away, and although there wasn't specifically a computer lab built into the original design, we repurposed the area between 3003 and 3012 because it became very obvious that we would need a printer release station," she said. "You need to get in the building and live in it to see how people are going to use it."

Sometimes, she said, certain features of the building are re-evaluated to fit student demand.

"It wasn't immediately obvious that the study rooms would be as popular as they are," she said. "Last semester the policy was come when you want and stay for as long as you want. We could offer the benefit of them to more students if we schedule them. We have over a hundred students almost every day making reservations for almost 200 hours of study."

Wilson also acknowledged the fact study spaces often fill up fast, and although she couldn't share details about Armstrong's coming expansion, she hinted that new study spaces were already being considered.

"There could be more study rooms on campus and people would use those and fill them up very quickly," she said.

Although the east wing expansion won't be completed for a couple years, Wilson said Armstrong is already adjusting its available resources during busy times for students.

"During finals week, we will turn the Pavilion into a big study hall," she said. "We put tables in the Pavilion to create additional spaces where people can study. We're not going to have any programs or events during that week, so why not make it a giant quiet study room?"

As temperatures drop, some students are still willing to venture outside of their residences to study for finals week.

"I'll be in King all night, all day," sophomore Quinton Couch said.

Others have decided to stay home to study instead.

"I'll turn the heat up in my house," junior Cat Lok said. "Lots of hot chocolate."