WKU provides first glimpse of new WKU First Year Village

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.- On Tuesday, Western Kentucky University President Timothy Caboni gave the public the first glance of the new First Year Village. 

The new village will house over 600 students, divided into learning community pods of 25. 

“We want to make sure every young person finds their anchor at WKU. So instead of entering with 3,000 other first year students, they enter with 24 other ones who share their academic interests, their aspirations, with a faculty mentor and peer advisor. This is transformative for the university and that freshman year,” said Caboni. 

On each floor, the pods are connected by living rooms with the bedrooms and restrooms stemming out from the main hangout room. On the first floor, they have classrooms, faculty offices and music rooms. 

The different learning villages will be connected through an outdoor green space, giving the students an opportunity to hang out outside the buildings as well as inside which Mike Reagle, assistant vice president for student engagement, says is much needed after isolation from the pandemic.

“I think students are starving to be together again. And fortunately with them going back for at least part of their senior year I think they’re beginning to see some of that. The other thing is that they haven’t been able to socialize for the majority of their senior year. So this will give them a smaller group to be able to connect to immediately,” said Reagle. 

The vision is to have a number of different services at their fingertips at this end of the campus. 

“The idea is how do you create that type of deep engagement and relationship with a faculty member and academic or peer advisor for someone at WKU. That’s a pretty bold vision. But this is the first step to accomplishing it for every one of our first-year students,” said Caboni.