Student Conversations

Amanda Walker ’16
Kingston, Jamaica

Graduate student in landscape architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design; double major in architectural studies and art history; took a gap year between high school (Hotchkiss School) and HWS to live and work in Naples, Italy; studied abroad for two semesters in Copenhagen, Denmark and Rome, Italy; had three summer internships in architecture and engineering; member of the Art History Society, the Arts Collective Fashion Show and the Architectural Studies Society; worked in Admissions

The collection of experiences I’ve had at HWS – on campus and abroad – has given me confidence in myself as a designer. With the guidance and support of my advisers and the Center for Global Education staff, I was able to study abroad for two consecutive semesters. That was life-changing. Jamaica is, fundamentally, a classist place. There are walls and gates everywhere. To gain access to outdoor recreation areas, you have to be admitted – you have to be able to afford it. In Europe, the landscape is open and this creates social sustainability. The High Line in New York City is like that as well. Of all the cities I visited, Barcelona was among the most interesting. The way the city is laid out, the walkable tree-lined streets, the scale of the buildings, the combination of Roman structures alongside modern buildings – all makes the streetscape a destination for all people.

The campus conversation has been about space and the need for us to reevaluate how our spaces are set up. This is a campus where spaces are socially constructed – the Hill for women, the Quad for men, the IC House for diversity, Main Street for fraternities. The biggest change we’re going to see in the upcoming year will emerge when an old building on campus – one that is traditionally male – is used in a new way. When Medbery Residence Hall goes co-ed this fall, the social construction of campus will begin to evolve. The Quad – the very heart of campus – will become everyone’s back yard.


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