Taking a whole grade of 9th grade students to design a new campus for future generations is something never done before. To begin this process, we conducted empathy interviews to understand the needs and wants of our users. Then we took those ideas and prototyped using the design thinking process multiple times, each time collecting feedback to refine each prototype farther. Throughout this process we also learned about sustainable building methods and green buildings to incorporate into our designs. After prototyping and collecting feedback multiple times we then presented our final project to the school’s board of directors. This experience was a wild roller coaster that I learned valuable lessons from. One of the specific skills that I learned about in this project was construction budgeting. This was something I had never done before and it wasn’t even as close to as easy as I thought! One of the major things that struck me was how you literally had to account for EVERYTHING. Every light bulb, screw, and board. We only had to do this for our maker’s space so I couldn’t even imagine doing it for a whole house or even our entire school. When you do this type of budgeting, you don’t think about how the price of every little thing adds up so we ended up going slightly over budget with our design. This skill along with many others will be very beneficial to me in the future. Working In a group with three individuals on this big of a project with so much to do wasn’t exactly easy. For me, I'm really good at trying to do all of the work, which didn’t work well for this project. I had to work on listening to everyone's ideas and stepped up as a group leader to help distribute the workload and keep everyone on task wich wasn’t easy either. It was also challenging because Nate was gone a lot so the three of us had to do more work then expected, something I learned how to do throughout this project. Overall this was a challenging group work scenario but we all pushed through it and it worked out in the end. In my opinion having a student designed campus like this one is very beneficial for many reasons. With a campus made by students, it's their pride and joy, so they would be more motivated to take care of it. At our school it is constantly messy in part because our students don’t like our campus, and therefore don’t respect it. If it was their passion and pride that built the walls around them, students wouldn’t want to mark up, destroy, or litter on their beautiful work. A campus designed by students is also going to meet the learning needs of students better, causing overall more productive and more motivated students. This would allow our school to produce greater work, greater students, and a greater reputation. This is just a few reasons I can think of off the top of my head that proves how beneficial a student designed campus would be.
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