Designing the melting pot: Physical attributes of the intercultural campus


  • Laura Sapiega Trujillo The Art Institute of Tampa
  • Lisa Kinch Waxman Florida State University


Interior design, culture, place attachment, intercultural, higher education, architecture, built environment, internationalization


American universities are becoming increasingly diverse.  Current university internationalization programs assist in the adjustment of international students.  However, meaningful intercultural connection often occurs on an interpersonal level, not an institutional one. To understand how campus places may support intercultural connections among diverse students, the researcher conducted a survey, observations, and interviews with domestic and international students. These methods evaluated the physical attributes of students’ favorite campus places and revealed students’ perceptions of attachment and intercultural connection they experienced inside. Students experienced positive intercultural connections in campus places that allowed them to interact and relax with each other.  Centrally located places with recognizable features, private/open areas, consistent ambient conditions, and access to comfortable furniture, refreshments, and technology were preferred. These findings may inform the design of future campus places so that they support the needs of a future global workforce and build connections among empathetic citizens of the world.    

Author Biographies

Laura Sapiega Trujillo, The Art Institute of Tampa

Lauren Trujillo, MFA, received her Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Florida State University in 2006 and completed her MFA in Interior Design, also from Florida State University, in 2014.  She has practiced both commercial and residential design, and received her Interior Design state license in 2011.  She currently serves as an adjunct instructor in Tampa, Florida.

Lisa Kinch Waxman, Florida State University

 Lisa Waxman, Ph.D., is a professor and the chair of the Department of Interior Architecture & Design at Florida State University. Her research includes topics related to place, design that fosters community, and design for special populations. She is a NCIDQ certificate holder, a LEED-AP, and a licensed designer in Florida. Her teaching areas include environment and behavior, sustainability, and studios.  She is a past president and fellow of the Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) and a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). She serves on the board of the Council for Interior Design  Accreditation (CIDA).


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