Re-navigating the sticky campus

Vincent Tinto, author and University Professor at Syracuse University, first introduced his concept of retention in 1975. His model theorizes that students who socially integrate into the campus community increase their commitment to the institution and are more likely to graduate.

The phrase ‘Sticky Campus’ is an idea being promoted by university directors, architects, planners and designers as a place that will make  students want to stick around even if they have no lectures to go to. This contributes to a more engaging and meaningful student experience allowing them to improve academically and form closer relationships with peers and teachers.

The Sticky Campus designs the environment to make formal and informal learning spaces, social spaces and cyberspaces more collaborative.

Today, building experiences to attract a crowd has become the new ‘magnet’, once the domain of cinemas and anchor stores. The concept spread from theatres and theme parks to airports and now shopping centres.

This includes inter-connected digital classrooms and updated furniture. These provide learning areas for small groups working in individual pods or laptop benches as well as listening to a large-scale lecture.

Social spaces provide a new mix of areas that allow for simultaneous learning and socialising as well as a place to have fun and relax with peers. This can include green spaces or activation areas.

A recently completed project at RMIT has demonstrated the approach The Blueprint takes to making a sticky campus.

As universities redesign their campuses, our industry has to re-think how we navigate, communicate and activate learning and social spaces in universities. This is what we do at The Blueprint.

domain of cinemas and anchor stores. The concept spread from theatres and theme parks to airports and now shopping centres.Joseph Pine and James Gilmore in a 1998 article ‘Welcome to the Experience Economy’ (, suggested that a marketable experience happens “when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event”. According to Pine and Gilmore these experiences are, “inherently personal, existing only in the mind of an individual who has been engaged on an emotional, physical, intellectual or even spiritual level.”Years ago, experience came last when planning new developments. This was a time when oor space and grand architectural statements were key drivers of new developments.