Priorities:York College of Pennsylvania Student Priorities

From University Innovation Fellows
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Overview: York College has the possibly to become an institution that fosters design thinking and innovation. To do this will be a lot of work, but it is possible. The faculty here care about their students and want to hear their opinions and ideas. Well here they are! Described on this page is the Three-Phased plan to turn YCP better campus. A better campus is one where we collaborate with each other, learn more about design thinking and innovation, and all have access to resources that will make us better professionals.

Phase 1: Create Design Thinking Courses

During our experience interviewing freshmen, many of them expressed in design thinking and innovation and entrepreneurship classes. Unfortunately, many of them were unsure of their ability in the field, or didn’t consider themselves creative enough to be a part of entrepreneurship avenues on campus. To remedy this issue we would create design thinking courses on campus. "Design Thinking I" would fulfil a Gen-Ed requirement, potentially Humanitites, Quantitative Fluency, or Arts. It would focus on using design thinking methods to solve a problem on campus. It would be taught similiarly to how "Entreuprenurial Thinking" was taught. "Design Thinking II" would build upon the concepts of "Design Thinking I" to solve a larger problem in the York community. It would be highly encouraged to take "Design Thinking I" before "Design Thinking II". "Design Thinking II" would be the starting point for part II of Phase I, creating custom constellations.

A constellation is a group of 4 classes from a minimum of 3 disciplines. Students could choose these classes that comprise the constellation, allowing for greater flexibility within the discipline. "Design Thinking II" would be required for this custom constellation, and the ideals taught in the class would lend itself to the general theme of the constellation.         

Phase 2: Graham Innovation Zone

The Graham Innovation Zone (GIZ) is currently under construction and only availible to Graham Scholars, but we see this as a stepping stone in the innovation culture at York College. We intend to use the space to work closely with the Design Thinking classes to further their education. Within the space we can hold specialized classes, workshops, and events to bolster the innovation reputation at York College. This space can also be used as a collaborative zone for other group on campus such as FYS Fellows, RA's, or other students leaders. Working with other student leaders is the final phase of our plan, to create the Center for Collaborative Innovation.

Phase 3: The Center for Collaborative Engagement

This proposed organization aims to "break down silos within the college's five schools." The goal is to create an organization focused on interdisciplinary collaboration. The Center for Academic Innovation, Center for Community Engagement, Library Technology Services, Leadership Development Center, and the J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship would all be brought together to collaborate on ideas to improve the campus. They would have free use of the GIZ. This organizational interdependence can also create a collaborative climate for other groups on campus. We believe the school will have better results the more different campus organizations work together, and this programs aims to create that mentality. 

UIF Cohort #2 - 2019

Phase 1 - Erin - Make More Creative Spaces Across Campus</span

The York College Campus has taken great strides within the past few years to build creative spaces that break the traditional, rigid mold of a classroom, but all of those spaces have been restricted in some capacity: from the “kindergarten-like” Graham Innovation Zone, which is only available to Graham Scholars unless a reservation is made, to the stimulating and easily-transformed Kinsley Engineering Center lounge, which is only available to engineering students. This leaves a large population of students without any access to design spaces, leaving them with no option other than traditional, structured areas to work and study. A key priority of our team is to give all students access to creative spaces, and we believe that this is feasible through transforming existing group study spaces on campus.

The humanities building has small study nooks with comfortable chairs, plants, and bookshelves. These areas are already frequently used by students (indicating that they are in a great and convenient location), but the students who use them most always sit silently in the chairs and work on studying or scroll through their phones. We believe these spaces could easily be transformed into collaborative environments through a few small additions such as white boards, larger tables as opposed to the small side tables currently in use, and more dynamic/movable furniture, similar to the pentagonal seats currently in use at the Graham Innovation zone. We would also like to increase the creative and collaborative potential of group study areas of the library by swapping the current blocky and rigid structure of the areas for a more relaxed aesthetic with furnishings such as bean bags and tables on wheels. Our goal is to identify collaborative spaces across campus that are not being used collaboratively by students and to transform them so that they encourage group work and more creative thinking. We believe this is an important but easily feasible first step in introducing innovation and design to York College students.

Phase 2 - Rachael - Integration of design thinking into YCP curriculum 

Salem Square Spartans

A partnership between York College and Salem Square Community Center where college students can help develop programs run out of the center through the design thinking process to assist in the development of the community as a whole.

Prototype: Community Lacrosse Clinic

  • Partners: Sports Management, US Lacrosse, Salem Square
  • Breakdown:
    • November 2nd2019
      • Coach’s Clinic: 8:00am-10:00am (run by US Lacrosse; attendants- sports management students and community members)
      •  Session 1 (grades K-4): 10:30am-12:30pm (run by YCP lacrosse team and sports management students)
      • Session 2 (grades 5-8): 1:30pm-3:30pm (run by YCP lacrosse team and sports management students)
      • Debrief: 3:30pm-4:00pm (facilitated by sports management majors; “I like…I wish…I want…”)
    • Clinic goal: teach the sport of lacrosse and character development hand-in-hand
  • Goal: give York College students a project-based learning objective, where they must use design thinking skills to develop solutions – i.e. how to best teach character development skills to their user (children from Salem Square Community, an impoverished location, of two different age groups) streamline with the development of a new skill, such as a sport, so that it has a lasting effect of the individual and the community

In the future:

           The partnership between the sports management department and the center will continue with future classes completing a clinic of varying sports with different character development skills.

           Expansion of this partnership beyond just sports management is the goal, so that the Salem Square Community can be exposed to a variety of programs and the York College students can better identify with York City.  The application of design thinking will be at the forefront of this partnership so that the ties stay strong and the Center remains vivacious.  

Phase 3 - Maddie - Connecting local youth to the college campus with Design Thinking

Students will learn theGuppy Tank Modules through the textbook.  as well as have time for breaks, snacks, and socializing. The idea is to create a strong bond with the children and a safe space for them to be able to unlock their full creative potential. Throughout the program, students will learn what makes us each unique, acknowledging our different backgrounds in life, and what makes us who we are. This will all tie in with understanding the way businesses work and how innovative products are formed to benefit human needs. Through this process, students will be learning how to create their own products. They will do so by developing an understanding of the need they found through exercises that encourages students to be empathetic and dig deep into their peers or the community’s lives. Skills like critical thinking, problem solving, STEM, written and oral communication, empathy, and creativity are all skills that that Guppy Tank students will be exposed to. To finish out the program, students will present their products in front of a panel of “Sharks.” This would ideally involve the local community members and small business owners. Students who successfully do this will have the option of continuing their work and actually developing it. This would be a continuation of the after-school program in a second session. In the second session, new students can join and but to participate in the Guppy Tank Modules first. This could happen simultaneously with session one students; you could think of this as “cohorts.” Similar to the Stanford “Bootcamp Bootleg,” we have the Guppy Tank interactive textbook. These tools will provide guided activities, tips and tricks, and the proper way to work through the modules. These tools are necessary to display what Guppy tank is about, missions, updates on student’s works, contacts, events, and ultimately a place to work. 

Phase 4 - Max - Campus-Community Maker Space

The core value of design thinking is collaboration and innovation through empathy. Our final phase is a physical commitment to this value, in the form of a campus-community maker space. Similar to the Graham Innovation Zone maker space, this area will facilitate design thinking in a comfortable and familiar environment, but with an added emphasis on community outreach and integration. Having this space will not only promote the aforementioned community outreach programs we highlighted in phases 2 and 3 but will also provide an incubator-style testing ground for further programs to be developed and implemented for campus-community collaboration. While a specific location has not yet been determined, several unused areas exist where such a space could be created. The York College of Pennsylvania motto is Servire Est Vivere - To Serve Is to Live, and we believe that implementing such a space for the good of the campus and the community would stay true to this motto. 

UIF Cohort 2023

Strategy 1 - YCP Community Green Space - Branden

The YCP Community Green Space, provides a plethora of students a way to disengage from the stressful academic life and confines of their dorm or classrooms and rejoin nature. This green space, including a community garden, pollinator garden, fruit bearing trees, and seating space would provide a place where students can relax, learn and interact with one another in order to form a community and to promote sustainability goals. Organizations on campus such as the Plant and Gardening Club, Beekeeping Club, and the Campus Activities Board would be able to utilize such a space for club meetings and other events in order to bring give students more opportunities to go outside and enjoy the outdoors. This gardens can also help provide food for food insecure members on campus as well as provide good points of contact to collaborate with other institutions and the local community in York. Classes and faculty would also be able to utilize such a space to help teach others about plants and horticulture as well as providing a space to learn about sustainability.

Strategy 2- First Friday Biking Event - Noah

First Friday is a local community event in York hosted on the first Friday of each month. It is a celebration of the city that involves the community and local businesses as citizens are encouraged to hit the town and interact with stores, restaurants and the central market. Allowing students an easy option to interact with this holiday could help connect them with the greater community surrounding the college and introduce them to local businesses and vendors, making them a part of the local economy. Using bikes to transport students into the city can also provide students with a relaxed method of exercise that doesn't come with the same pressures as a gym environment but still provides the mental and physical health benefits. For this to happen the campus will need to create a system to poll students who will be coming and calculate the total amount of students attending as well as those who already have bikes. We will also gather paid volunteers to lead the trip into the city, about 1 for every 15 students. After a total count is performed, bikes will be rented from a local bike shop or distributor to accommodate the students without bikes. There is also the option of the college creating their own bike rental service and having a stock of bikes already on campus. Once the correct amount of bikes are accumulated students will meet in the Grumbacher parking lot to get ready for their venture into the city. After everyone is accounted for, students and trip leaders will begin towards the city using the rail trail path. Once in the city, students will visit notable businesses in the community and learn about the needs they serve for York, stop at a restaurant of their choice for dinner, and continue to explore the city until 9:30 PM. At this time students will regroup at the large bus stop terminals on the rail trail and begin their commute back to the college. They will return to their dorms more connected with the York community, a greater knowledge of the businesses and shops available to them within the city, and an idea of how to become part of the local economy and even bolster it in the future.

Strategy 3- Community Garden - Reilly

The YCP Community Garden will allow space for students to connect with nature in a meaningful way. Students can do as they please in this space: relax, learn, etc. Nurturing flowers and vegetables can be a rewarding and meditative experience for students; doing something tactile can help calm the mind, especially when there is a tangible result from the activity. Workshops taught by outside organizations and faculty alike as well as campus events could be held in this space. This space is not static and can change based on student needs. The goal is to make many small gardens across campus so that more students have access to them. Each garden will have scheduled maintenance days led by students and carried out by students. Lastly, a garden on campus will help provide nutrient rich vegetables to food insecure students at the Spartan Pantry at York College of Pennsylvania.

Strategy 4- Community Mental Health Support Group - Jacob

Community Mental Health Support Group is a student lead therapist monitored support group which aims to help students struggling with mental health issues learn coping techniques. Trying to make healthy habits to promote and maintain mental health is hard, doing this while dealing with mental health issues is even harder. This mental health support group is to meant to help student practice, learn and deal with issues related to there journey of health. Students will be lead by other students leader who has delt with these issues, who are further on there journey of health and are trained to support other students by licensed therapist. The bonus of having students lead these seasons is that it provides a large amount of diversity to the therapy space. Activities would be split up into two groups: large activities this is open to the general school population doing general mental health maintenance activates including: art therapy, music therapy, yoga, meditation, gardening, and other teaching activities and a smaller group with students who are dealing with specific mental health struggles or different student diversity populations like LGBTQ+ or a bipolar support group. Other future ideas that I would like to see is producing a art and music room in that students pay a small one time fee to go in and learn how to play music interments and practice art with the guidance of students who guild them through learning but also support them with music and art therapy.

Related Links

York College of Pennsylvania

York College of Pennsylvania Student Priorities

Student Contributors


Madison Davis

Max Vargo

Erin Hirtzel

Rachael Huebler

Fall 2017

Victoria Cox

Ben Hinkel

Benjamin O'Connor

Nick Vandemark

John Kershner

Vivian Ferris

Miranda Gajda

William Amtmann


Related links