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Stuckeman Landscape Architecture Students Recreate Studio Feel Remotely

Across the world, college students are adapting to the challenges and difficulties of online learning. Now more than ever, it is important to reach out to others and connect — even if it’s remotely.

Some Penn State students are doing just that through the Stuckeman School in the College of Arts and Architecture.

Stuckeman students rely on the studio not only as a place to attend lectures and critiques but also as a place to work. In the past, you might walk past the Stuckeman Family Building and see students working diligently through the night at their desks or catching a break and spending time with their peers. Some might call this “studio culture.”

Dr. Andy Cole, interim department head of landscape architecture, believes studio culture is a central part of the college’s community.

“Studio culture is such an important aspect of training for landscape architects,” Cole said. “It’s here that they interact, share ideas, and offer constructive critiques of each other’s work. It’s an integral means of building community and one that we have tried hard to replicate as best we can in times of COVID-19.” 

However, since landscape architecture, architecture, and graphic design are smaller programs, students rely on their classmates. Studio also includes all the resources one may need. It is a collaborative, and sometimes competitive, space for students to create effective designs and generate innovative solutions for their projects.

Maeve Fogarty, the class representative for second-year landscape architecture, also emphasized the studio’s importance.

“Physically being in the studio helps us as a class grow closer as a community,” Fogarty said. “We rely on each other academically, socially, and emotionally.”

However, with students remaining at home during the remote period, that atmosphere is lacking, and second-year landscape architecture students are coming together to recreate that environment.

At least once a week, some students meet over Zoom to catch up, play games, and for a few, meet for the first time. Last semester, they met to help each other learn the new programs. Creating that bond in a small program helps students thrive by encouraging them to reach out when they need support.

“Learning remotely has been a challenge, but as a class, we meet [every week or so] to recreate that studio environment,” Fogarty said. “It has really helped us navigate doing design coursework online and become a closer group of classmates.”

Other years of landscape architecture are doing the same. Alyssa Humarang, the class representative for third-year landscape architecture, connects with her classmates as well.

“From my experience though, my friends and I do Zoom parties where we just catch up and talk to one another or watch funny YouTube videos,” Humarang said. “We sometimes eat lunch or drink tea/coffee together over Zoom like we usually do after class before COVID happened”.

Inside the Stuckeman School in the College of Arts and Architecture, students are demonstrating how adaptive and resilient they are. Even with remote learning, there are still ways to connect and students are finding new ways to do so. It is important to form those connections and to have a support system no matter where you are in the world.

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About the Author

Aubrey Miller

Aubrey is a second-year Landscape Architecture major and a contributor for Onward State. She is from North Carolina, but can't stand country music. Aubrey is obsessed with her four cats, some would say too obsessed. Feel free to follow her on Instagram @aubreymillerr to see her cat posts.

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