Student Life

More than just a place, the student center adds significance to the college experience, stands for an institution’s commitment to its students, and can bring the best aspects of an institution to life and light.

Designing for Student Life

As colleges and universities strive to attract a wider and more diverse range of high achieving students, the college union serves as the place where students experience different perspectives and diverse world views while developing themselves as part of a community. While providing a vital mix of essential services and resources, a successful student center embodies a home away from home where students feel like they matter, can be themselves, and develop a deeper connection to their institution. With a sense of openness, the student center is quite literally where community on campus takes place, fostering a sense of belonging in students as they build relationships, share experiences, and engage in meaningful interactions that prepare them to be thoughtful citizens.

At VMDO, student life projects have been a main focus of our higher education practice since our founding. Through conversations with students, faculty, and administrative leaders, we aim to find a coherent balance between a rich understanding of forward-looking trends in university center design, and an innovative approach that builds upon what is special and unique about each institution’s heritage and aspirations. We see the student center as a pivotal campus moment, where well crafted architecture can enrich the college experience, seamlessly integrate the social, cultural, and physical campus landscape, and grow to become part of its place, while being loved and lasting.

As colleges and universities strive to attract a wider and more diverse range of high achieving students, the college union serves as the place where students experience different perspectives and diverse world views while developing themselves as part of a community. While providing a vital mix of essential services and resources, a successful student center embodies a home away from home where students feel like they matter, can be themselves, and develop a deeper connection to their institution. With a sense of openness, the student center is quite literally where community on campus takes place, fostering a sense of belonging in students as they build relationships, share experiences, and engage in meaningful interactions that prepare them to be thoughtful citizens.

At VMDO, student life projects have been a main focus of our higher education practice since our founding. Through conversations with students, faculty, and administrative leaders, we aim to find a coherent balance between a rich understanding of forward-looking trends in university center design, and an innovative approach that builds upon what is special and unique about each institution’s heritage and aspirations. We see the student center as a pivotal campus moment, where well crafted architecture can enrich the college experience, seamlessly integrate the social, cultural, and physical campus landscape, and grow to become part of its place, while being loved and lasting.

Recent Work

Young Harris College Rollins Campus Center + Miller Library

Young Harris College Rollins Campus Center + Miller Library

Named for its donor, the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation, the Rollins Center is the signature facility at…

View Project
Tidewater Community College- Chesapeake Student Center

Tidewater Community College- Chesapeake Student Center

The Student Center is a focal point and gathering place for students, faculty and visitors at the College.…

View Project
Averett University Student Center + Dining

Averett University Student Center + Dining

The student center aims to attract more students to this former “commuter” campus by providing them with…

View Project

Recent Blog Posts

Rollins Campus Center Transforms the Student Experience

The largest building constructed at Young Harris College, the Rollins Campus Center is often referred to as the social and intellectual heart of campus

View Post

New Student Center wins ACUI Facility Design Award of Excellence

​Tidewater Community College Chesapeake Campus’s Student Center was recognized as one of five awardees of the Facility Design Award of Excellence at the…

View Post

Student Center Design

A new student union can mark and embody a genuine turning point for a campus.

View Post

Resources