A Recipe for Global Citizenship
This is a call to action to the AUP community. Communal spaces promote attachment, which AUP desperately needs. AUP students arrive to campus for class, and build their community elsewhere. Thus, we propose a new communal space, run with values of civic responsibility and global citizenship. This cafe-style Co-op Atelier is meant to foster a spirit of social sustainability and communal accountability. We present our research to you, our peers, and ask that you take on our plan and help AUP grow. We can’t wait to see what you build. As new opportunities emerge, how will we, as students organize to take advantage of these new spaces? We have diagnosed a certain social need, which must be addressed through student run initiative.
We invited students to discuss.
Students arrived, passionate about a new common space.
Here is what they had to say:
How do we build social capital at AUP?
“Detachment is AUP’s biggest problem”
“Relationships are hard to maintain outside of class and major”
“There is a lack of common spaces and bonding activities at AUP”
“Clubs aren’t enough, people aren’t active”
“I think there’s a really big divide between USC and AUP students and even some professors don’t like USC students, so it isn’t an imaginary problem. These people aren’t bad, but they treat AUP as a transitive space, and it stops us from feeling rooted, especially when they’re in our classes but don’t care and are disruptive”
“I feel like we don’t interact a lot”
“There is social segregation related to language”
“AUP should be creating more spaces and activities that bring people together”
Do you agree that lack of common spaces is a problem for AUP students?
“There’s no place to casually meet on campus, aside from the Amex, which has a sort of personality that is not necessarily welcoming to everyone”
“Absolutely, the biggest common spaces are Grenelle and Combes, and even then it’s not that big”
How have you met other AUP students?
“People only meet in class”
“I only know people in my major”
“I met all my friends the first week, and there aren’t many. There’s no place we can all meet. At my old university, we made friends because we were forced to be in the same places”
How could meeting other AUP students be improved?
“More common spaces, more activities”
“That’s the problem with a campus-free school, but other schools like us have spaces to chill”
“More events connecting students other than speakers and educational events. We need fun bonding events that aren’t expensive”
“Better publicizing of events”
What do you envision as a positive collective space at AUP? What does it have?
“Resources to attract people like phone chargers, books, textbooks”
“A TV for watching sports”
“Cheap good food”
“Someone there to answer questions- a non-intimidating student resource”
“Board games, cards”
“Colorful aesthetically pleasing”
“Lively, music in the background”
What can we do to promote civic responsibility in this space?
“It would be a student run space”
“People would clean up after themselves/each other for others to enjoy the space”
“Clubs could hold events there”
“People can donate old things when they move out of their apartments”
“Documentary/movie screenings with discussion and popcorn”
What do you know/understand/want from a co-op space?
“A space where students work in shifts”
“Bring things you don’t need like books and musical instruments and food”
“You have to work a shift once a month to be a member, so we can create accountability”
“If you want to hold events there, you need to be a member”
“We would need a way to hold people accountable, so the space can be kept nice”
Here's the Plan
We are compiling this information to facilitate the potential continuation of this project. We are recommending to begin on a smaller scope and grow into a permanent space. While we are willing to provide guidance as the founders of this project, we want the next incoming class to make it their own and be responsive to the needs of their community. Here below is a brief recommendation of what to potentially do in the future. As student space increases with new infrastructural possibility, and as we develop new resources, this could and should become a more sustained offer. We aim to build social capital within the context of changing and growing spaces and population at AUP.
Follow the same format of creating an event and inviting different classes. Center each gathering around a discussion that interests the current student body.
As more and more people attend and are involved, the strength to sustain the event will follow. Participation can involve bringing food or drink to share, potential discussion topics, or temporary location.
Concerning temporary location, recently we have gathered at Invalides and a classroom on campus. Our hope is to encourage AUP to find a permanent place for this space in the new building. A slight variation of the Wellness Room that is inclusive of all kinds of gatherings.