Dalhousie University student perceptions regarding the current state of Studley-campus study spaces
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Our research question was: What is the current perception of Dalhousie University students regarding the built environment of study spaces on Studley campus? To test our research question, we developed a 10-question survey focusing on students preferences and perceptions of the built environment. This allowed us to deepen our knowledge of student understanding of their relationship to the built environment, as well as gain insight into the strengths and shortcomings of study spaces on Dalhousie’s Studley campus. Our results indicate that most students prefer studying at either the Killam Library or the Wallace McCain Learning Commons. The majority of students surveyed choose their study space based upon: a) low noise; b) available seating; and c) access to power outlets; with less than 50% considering natural lighting. When asked what could be improved about Dalhousie’s Studley Campus Study spaces, the top three factors were: a) available seating; b) natural light; and c) availability of power outlets. Our analysis also found that the majority of students feel that their productivity, anxiety, and stress are greatly influenced by the study spaces they use. Overall, the results of our survey offered several key findings. First, the factors that the majority of students consider when choosing a study space do not directly reflect the factors deemed most important in the literature. This tells us that students may not be choosing study spaces that will best support their productivity and mental wellbeing. Second, students believe that Dalhousie’s Studley campus is lacking in several of the factors deemed most important by the literature for supporting productivity and mental-wellbeing. We therefore must ask if students do not prioritize these factors because they do not care about them, do not recognize their benefits, or because they do not feel they can be met given the current facilities. These findings can be used to aid Dalhousie University in improving current study spaces, as well as the creation of new ones. Dalhousie University should target the mostpopular study spaces, including the Killam Library and Wallace McCain Learning Commons for improvements, and should focus on improving the factors deemed important by students and found in need of improvement, including available seating, access to power outlets, low noise, and increased natural light. By not only considering the literature, but also the needs and concerns of current Dalhousie students, the university will be more able to prioritize funds and resources for the built-environment factors that matter most.