The COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented challenges for educational institutions around the world. Schools everywhere are attempting to bring students back to the classroom safely. Large-scale change is unfolding in a matter of weeks.
Some campuses have announced that they will offer most or all classes online for the autumn 2020 term, including the massive University of California system, Howard University and George Washington University. Other campuses, including Tulane and the University of Houston, are doubling or even tripling instructional space as they prepare to host students back on campus.
Being on campus is core to the college experience. Sixty-five per cent of college students say they prefer to attend classes in-person even if there is no vaccine, according to a College Reaction poll.
Most universities are grappling with social distancing requirements that dramatically cut instructional space capacity. And most have students who want to be in safe, branded, digitally robust social and instructional spaces but won’t be coming to campus. How can universities engage with these students? One powerful answer: extended campus networks, with dedicated space strategically placed across WeWork facilities around the world.
With more than 800 global locations, WeWork is helping educational institutions meet the challenges they face in reopening. In partnership with universities, we are supporting classrooms and campus expansions around the world in our technology-equipped outposts. In these spaces, students can study or recharge in virtually every major metropolis in the world.
New York University, for example, turned to WeWork when it needed to set up a satellite campus to accommodate 3,000 students in Shanghai, China. Here are some of the other ways we’re helping universities quickly adapt to their unique challenges.
Let students access a desk wherever they are in the world
Given the extreme challenges of traveling back to campus, how do you facilitate remote learning? Many students are living at home with their parents, but a big part of the university experience is the social aspect. Students might not be returning to campus, but they still crave a space specific to schoolwork and socialisation that’s not their parents’ kitchen table.
By partnering with WeWork, you can give students access to a clean and safe space that’s tailor-made for productivity. A student in Lima, Peru, or Salt Lake City, Utah, who is not able to fly back to London for the autumn semester can still access dedicated learning, social and networking space as part of an extended campus network.
WeWork’s All Access solution can give students the ability to go into any WeWork building around the world. Students can have strong Wi-Fi, book meeting rooms or a hot desk, or access common areas in 149 cities. They can use these as touchdown spaces for whenever they want to get some extra studying in, or when they just need a quiet space to take a virtual class. We can also stand up dedicated, branded space just for your students – fast.
Set up a campus in another city
WeWork can also help universities set up satellite campuses. This is an especially useful option for universities with a sizable population of students in other cities. By opening locations near where students live, this essentially is bringing the campus to the student.
Right now, we’re helping New York University serve 3,000 Chinese students who can’t travel to New York. Seven floors in a WeWork in Shanghai will be renovated to become classrooms, lecture halls and other facilities.
Solutions for you, now
Given our global reach, flexible network and available inventory of turnkey spaces, we can help you set up anywhere from three to dozens of satellite campuses anywhere in the world. These spaces are already equipped with collaboration spaces and amenities including Wi-Fi and printers. In these WeWork spaces, you can put your distinct branding on the walls and operate classes safely.
In a recent webinar, we shared more on how WeWork is helping universities de-densify their spaces, create decentralised campus hubs in new cities and bring classrooms to where students are. Join us for another webinar on 27 August to find out how universities are managing all of these changes.
With WeWork, you can decentralise your facilities but still provide a safe physical environment for students and faculty. Help your community come together and collaborate, on campus and beyond. We can provide options, whether you need a little or a lot of support.
Derek Feinman is the head of business development and VP of education at WeWork. He has been with the company for more than five years. Previously he was the VP of marketing and partnerships at Morgans Hotel Group.