How are universities making room on campuses for more cutting-edge science and technology while also connecting to community and industry — and achieving net zero targets? The answer is a new approach to planning that’s both flexible and inclusive, says Elliot Felix, partner at Buro Happold and founder of the firm’s higher education consultancy, brightspot strategy.
Felix, along with Buro Happold colleagues Julian Parsley and Allan Donnelly, will lead talks at the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) 2022 Annual Conference, held July 24-26 in Long Beach, California.A session titled “A Tale of Two Planning Projects: The Frontiers of Science and Robotics,” led by Felix and Amanda Lorenzo, director of brightspot strategy and principal at Buro Happold, delves into challenges of creating a high-tech nexus on an established campus. The process case study — which informs Carnegie Mellon University’s new Richard King Mellon Science Building and Robotics Innovation Center — illuminates everything from the physical infrastructure to faculty involvement to the forecasting of future needs to best meet increasing space demands.

Allan Donnelly, associate director of brightspot strategy, will lead a second session on SCUP’s Campus Facilities Inventory (CFI), a national database that helps universities compare their campus development to peer institutions. To create clarity in future planning and development, the CFI resource helps colleges and universities confront the unprecedented technological, demographic, social, and economic changes behind campus planning decisions.

With contributions from Julian Parsley, partner at Buro Happold (photo), another SCUP session addresses the staggering challenge of achieving a net zero institution, and makes the case for adopting a whole-life carbon or WLC approach to achieve deep carbon reductions. With a fundamental understanding of carbon reduction, major institutions can evaluate opportunities across building lifecycles and use visual tools to communicate evidence-based data and encourage collaborative decision-making.

Felix, who is an author, speaker, consultant, and teacher who has worked for over 100 universities and colleges, says, “Thoughtful campus planning takes an interdisciplinary perspective to better analyze and plan for the four S’s —spaces, services, staffing and systems — and to make higher education more engaging and equitable for varied constituencies.” His expertise is in the news recently, illustrated in his new book, How to Get the Most Out of College.
All of the SCUP sessions take place at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, Calif. For more information on the SCUP conference, visit or the SCUP conference website. Details about the sessions:

Talk:  “Using SCUP’s Campus Facilities Inventory (CFI) to Inform Integrated Planning” (image)
When:  Monday, July 25, 9:50am PT
Who:   Allan Donnelly, associate director, brightspot strategy, a Buro Happold company

Talk:  “A Tale of Two Planning Projects: The Frontiers of Science and Robotics”
When:  Tuesday, July 26. 11:10am PT
Who:  Elliot Felix, partner at Buro Happold and founder of higher education consultancy brightspot strategy
Amanda Lorenzo, director of brightspot strategy and principal, Buro Happold
Matt Plecity, associate principal with GBBN Architects
Bob Reppe, senior director of planning and design, Carnegie Mellon University.
Talk:  “Achieving Net Zero: Global Best Practices in Planning & Design”
When:  Tuesday, July 26, 1:30pm PT
Who:  Julian Parsley, partner at Buro Happold
Matthew Ollier, partner at Hawkins\Brown
Trevor Wills, director of Estates at Nottingham Trent University.