Campus quads get fun design makeover

Campus Quad Fun
Students kick back at Hearn Plaza at Wake Forest, which has gotten some new design touches. / Provided

When you walk across the quad at Wake Forest University, it’s completely normal to spot students playing Monopoly while sipping java from nearby coffee carts.

Outdoor amenities like Ping-Pong tables, a foosball table, reading rooms and a black and gold piano are among the recent additions at the North Carolina campus courtesy of the brain trust of Dan Biederman’s firm, Biederman Redevelopment Ventures Corporation. He’s behind the restoration of New York’s Bryant Park and the creator of private urban redevelopment projects.

George Roberts, BRV project manager, began the campus initiative two years ago by asking, “What can we learn from the successes of urban parks that can de-stress students?”

By talking extensively to faculty and staff to crack open their concerns about busy schedules, it became clear. The goal was, Roberts said, to make the campus “a more engaging, more comfortable space to relax” and to break up the routine from “a class to library to bed mentality.”

Outdoor tables and chairs emerged like the ones in New York’s Bryant Park, the Boston Common and the Porch at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Plus, a chalkboard made it a no-brainer for professors to hold class outside. Roberts recalls students saying they spend time with small groups of friends and stick to their clusters.

Hence, the birth of the games and fitness equipment cart on Hearn Plaza, with games including checkers and Wiffle ball. He says that students may not know one another in the sea of 4,000 students, “but they might stop to play a game of Ping-Pong.”

This is particularly important considering students rock out to headphones and remain fixated on smart phones. Thomas Ray, 2013 Wake Forest graduate and its coordinator of outdoor programming initiatives, has noticed a significant shift now that amenities have been implemented.

“Whether foosball, chess, Jenga or bocce, our students are finding the time to socialize.” When he was a freshman, only a few students could be seen tossing a Frisbee but now more students are playing. In fact, Ray refers to amenities as “day breakers” to escape from the hustle and bustle. As for another non-digital day breaker, students can also check out the outdoor reading room to pick up a magazine or newspaper.

Witnessing a more connected community is mission accomplished for Roberts. “Now that we’ve done this,” he says, “whenever I see a college campus I think of the ways this could really work.”

Roberts adds, “Even some of the city schools that have parks like Washington Square for NYU, they could do things to become even more of a hot bed of a campus community.”


“Before this initiative, the outdoor space was simply that — space. By strategically adding movable furniture, magazine and newspaper racks and a game cart, we create a robust, vibrant hub of activity. This addition is beginning to change the ‘tone’ of campus.” – student Thomas Ray


Thousands protest in New York over Eric Garner…

The Reverend Al Sharpton led thousands of chanting but peaceful activists in a march across Staten Island on Saturday to protest the death of Eric Garner.


Egypt calls for Gaza ceasefire as fighting rages

Egypt called on Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday to halt fire and resume peace talks, but violence continued unabated.


SpaceX rocket terminated in Texas test flight

A Space Exploration Technologies’ Falcon 9 rocket suffered an anomaly shortly after launch on a test flight, triggering its automatic termination system.


MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…


Arcade Fire concert review, Massachusetts, Aug. 19

Arcade Fire take the opposite approach of "Shut up and play the hits," and it works in their favor on the "Reflektor" tour.


Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.


Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm


Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.


3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…


3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.


Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.


Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…


Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…


Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…


Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…