HEFMA 2016 Recap

Jim Hughes keynote speech

The Higher Education Facilities Management Association held its 2016 Summer Conference at Rutgers University-New Brunswick from June 26 to 29, featuring presentations, discussions, and  building tours.

HEFMA is comprised mainly of the member schools of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, formerly the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, along with Iowa State University and Notre Dame.

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Conference attendees work in various aspects of space and classroom management, including space planning and allocation, space data management, and more. It was a great year for Rutgers to host the conference, as we celebrate our 250th anniversary and reflect upon the path our university has travelled from its colonial roots through modern times, with a campus that continues to evolve physically as well as strategically and programatically.

The conference kicked off Sunday night with an insightful and entertaining presentation by Jim Hughes, Dean of the Bloustein School of Public Planning and Policy, on the intertwined history of Rutgers, the city of New Brunswick, and Johnson & Johnson. Guests also enjoyed a locally sourced meal, served in our recently opened Honors College building. The weather was perfect for standing on the patio overlooking the Raritan River and the trains crossing the river as they travelled to and from New York City.

Monday morning's schedule focused on Busch Campus, including presentations at the Visitors Center, a meeting held via video wall, a presentation over pizza and subs (speaking of locally sourced food) at the CAVE, and a tour of the construction site of the new Chemistry and Chemical Biology building. After a final session downtown at the Bloustein School where attendees discussed how the physical design of campuses might better reveal the research, teaching, and service that happens there, the group headed for Point Pleasant to get a glimpse of the Atlantic, enjoy fresh seafood, and take in the unique glory that is the Point Pleasant boardwalk.

Tuesday brought the group to Livingston Campus, where it heard about the impressive repurposing of Tillett Hall from a defunct dining hall and postal facility into what is now a true center of undergraduate teaching, with new lecture-style and active learning classrooms, an overhauled learning center, and the headquarters for our Digital Classroom Services group. After a tour of the Rutgers Business School's new building, we headed to Cook Campus for lunch and a building tour of the Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health. Our final stops of the day were the Eagleton Institute for Politics for a presentation and then the Lippman House next to Passion Puddle for a reception.

We closed the conference Wednesday with sessions, fittingly, in one of Rutgers' oldest buildings, Winants Hall, on the Old Queens campus. We then transitioned to the modern, as we crossed the street to the Gateway Building, where retiring Philosophy professor Peter Klein's last offical act was to give a fascinating history of the department, with a special focus on the role physical location and space had played in its rise to being one of the top-ranked philosophy departments in the world.

As always, the conference was a wonderful opportunity to spend time with generous and talented colleagues from our peer institutions. We learned from each other and continued to cement the relationships that we rely on year-round for information, insight and new ideas that we use to benefit our institutions individually and collectively.

You can access links to slide decks, videos, and other information on the conference agenda page, see a list of presenters with contact information, and a list of attendees. If you would like any additional information, please contact us.