Courtesy of Prof. Mitch Glass

Cornell students meet to discuss West 6.0, an initiative to develop the spaces between the five West Campus houses.

February 18, 2019

New Initiative ‘West 6.0’ to Expand Living and Learning Spaces on West Campus

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Cornell students and faculty are working to develop the unused plots of land on West Campus, making headway on West Campus’ efforts to expand living and learning amongst Cornell’s residences.

Roughly 150 Cook and Becker House residents gathered in the Cook common room last Wednesday to discuss West 6.0, an initiative that has taken form this semester to develop the spaces between the five West Campus houses.

While there is no concrete timeline for the project, there have been three sessions to explore ways to make use of the underutilized patches of green.

“It’s an experiment in faculty-led, living, learning residential communities to take that learning mission and to expand it beyond just thinking about it as the ability to get a job, the ability to get a degree, but to really think about learning as life long that is imbedded in us,” Prof. Neema Kudva, city and regional planning, told The Sun.

The initiative derives its name from the five houses on West Campus, with the “6.0” stemming from the spaces between the houses on West.

According to Kudva, who also serves as the Becker house dean, the goal of the initiative is to expand West Campus as a living space to incorporate the outdoors.

The project was launched after the five house professor deans met last semester to explore the idea of developing “a sense of place within the greater community,” 

To jumpstart the initiative, two courses were introduced to open up a dialogue and to begin collecting ideas.

The first, LA 2020: Sophomore Landscaping Architecture Studio, taught by Prof. Mitch Glass, landscape architecture and city and regional planning, focuses on West Campus’ unique position as an integral, yet separate location within the broader Cornell Campus.

The second, CRP 3899: 103 Leave Your Mark on West! allows students from different disciplines to “bring to life” the spaces between each house. A one-credit course, this class will be taught by August Faller grad.

“We use our community and our physical campus as a space for learning,” Kudva told The Sun.

Over the next month, sessions on design will be held, the first was held last Wednesday — activities ranging from identifying spaces on West for relaxing, being together or being inspired.

The second will be on Feb. 20, and the third on March 1.

Each meeting will be led by Glass and his students, who will curate West to be a place of play, commemoration, wellness, art and performance through projects that may include a meditation maze, a “dead” space (where phones will have no signal) and art.

“Our hope is that this space becomes one of experimentation.” Professor Kudva said. “We want it to be an organic process.”