On April 19, 2017, more than 800 students, staff, faculty and community members stopped by the Wond’ry to learn about FutureVU. The FutureVU Expo featured interactive exhibits over three floors of the building. On the first floor were displays outlining FutureVU’s guiding principles, as well as a timeline of FutureVU events to date. A short film about the history of campus land use planning produced by the Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning was available for viewing, and expo attendees lined up to take a turn at the Vanderbilt campus past and present 360-degree virtual reality experience. The second floor featured information about campus building projects that are currently underway, including the E. Bronson Ingram College; the baseball facilities project; planned additions to Eskind Biomedical Library, the School of Nursing and the Divinity School; proposed changes to the West End Avenue neighborhood; and suggestions for graduate and professional student housing. On the third floor were stations providing information about sustainability and transportation initiatives at Vanderbilt, including recycling, energy and water conservation, greenways, biking and alternative transportation, smart cities and more.
Areas were designated on each floor of the expo so that participants could brainstorm and provide feedback.
OVERVIEW OF FEEDBACK
West End Neighborhood Efforts
In regards to the West End neighborhood efforts, attendees were asked, “in what ways can the West End neighborhood be enhanced to promote inclusivity and become a welcoming space for the entire VU community?” Answers included the removal of streets and greening of the area, the incorporation of communal prayer space, 24-hour study space in the neighborhood, improving accessibility, additional houses for multicultural and other student organizations, dining as a tool for uniting people, improvement of walkability, and interactive areas.
When asked, “what’s one thing you want to see in the West End neighborhood that currently does not exist?” the top answers included more open spaces including outdoor study spaces, places for events, and places for relaxation.
Participants were also asked to, “write down three words that come to mind that describe what you’d like this area to look like in the future,” and examples of responses included:
- Beautiful, Fun, Wild
- Green, Fun, Communal
- Modern, Respectable, In-Touch
- Nature, Green, Preserved
- Open, Walking, Green
- Green, Happy, Fraternal
- Big, Food, Forest
- Green, Open, Fun
- Modern, Southern, No Cars
- Green, Fun, Peaceful
- Homely, Quaint, Iconic
- Relaxing, Beautiful, Peaceful
- Green, Fun, Peaceful
- Open, Interactive, Multi-purpose
Central Neighborhood Efforts
For Central neighborhood efforts, participants were asked to vote on a preferred feature they would like to see in the future where the Bryan Building is currently located. With over 45% of the 500 votes, a water feature was preferred, followed closely by masking the power plant.
Attendees were asked to brainstorm ideas for Green Fund projects and responses included permeable surface installation, electric Vandy Vans and campus vehicles, solar panels on various buildings, upgraded bathrooms, motion detector lights and solar powered lights, and additional recycling opportunities. When asked "what does sustainability mean to you?" responses included being willing to adapt and change the way we live, responsibly managing our resources, doing what is RIGHT, maximizing existing resources, protecting what we have for the future, and living in harmony with the Earth versus living off of the Earth.
Participants also provided feedback on retail options they would like to see in the graduate and professional student village area, features they would like to see along the proposed campus Greenway, preferred bike racks, their favorite spaces on campus, and the features or elements of the land use plan that they were most excited about. Feedback and ideas provided at the event are being considered as a part of continued FutureVU efforts.