Two weeks ago, Peter Kageyama gave the keynote at the Springfield Business Development Corporation’s annual meeting. Peter is the author of “For the Love of Cities: The Love Affair Between People and Their Places” and is highly regarded in urban planning, design and development.
I had the opportunity to attend two meetings with Peter, and his insights were inspirational.
One of Peter’s main points was that a “hierarchy of needs” exists in city-making:
People expect their cities to be functional and safe. Filling the potholes does not separate good cities from great cities. To emerge from the pack, a city must move higher up the hierarchy. People fall in love with convivial, interesting cities, not merely functional and safe ones.
To help in this endeavor, Peter challenges leaders to ask themselves “where’s the fun?” as they make decisions and develop plans.
Maintaining the fun
Peter’s message translates to universities. All good universities are functional. To separate ourselves — for students, faculty, staff and others to fall in love with our university — we must be interesting and fun.
We have done a lot to add interest to our campus in the past several years. Examples include:
- Banners and bearheads on facilities throughout campus
- Carillon concerts and outdoor picnic tables
- Construction projects that focus on architectural beauty
- Revitalizing Bearfest Village before football games
- Cutting-edge social media and April Fool’s Day website
- Annual Chocolate Lovers Luncheon in the PSU
However, I don’t think I’m alone in noting that we have worked less on making our campus friendly and interesting as budgets have tightened and cuts have been made.
As we work through tight budgets year-over-year, we cannot lose sight of the need to ask “where’s the fun?” when making decisions and charting the university’s course.
I have told my leadership team that I want to approach this year’s budget development a bit differently than we have the past two years. When identifying efficiencies and reallocating resources, we will work to ensure that we are not sacrificing the interesting and sociable nature of our campus. What’s more, we will remain open to ideas for additional ways we can make the campus even more “fun” than it already is.
Fun ideas do not usually come from the top of an organization. We will accomplish much more if you put forth interesting ideas and leadership empowers you to put your ideas into action.
If you have “where’s the fun?” ideas, please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!