Kent State University


Risman Plaza and Student Green

Kent, Ohio

7.25 acres, 2.93 hectares

Campus Planning, Landscape Architecture

“The success of this new campus space has far surpassed our goal. On any given day, it’s evident by the number of present and engaged students that it is the most popular place on campus.”

—Gregg S. Floyd, Senior VP for Finance and Administration


As part of a master planning effort for Kent State University (KSU), SmithGroupJJR identified Risman Plaza as a key project to enhance the appearance and functionality of the campus, and improve the institution’s overall identity. Once a barren concrete thoroughfare that students scurried through, Risman Plaza and a subsequent project, the adjacent Student Green, have been transformed into attractive, vibrant gathering spaces for the entire campus community.

Located on a highly visible, key corner of campus, Risman Plaza and the Student Green have created an attractive new front door to KSU. Through the use of grade changes, landscaping and varied materials, the design purposefully creates a diversity of outdoor rooms that encourage gathering, outdoor dining and people-watching. Open plazas and formal green spaces accommodate dozens of large annual outdoor events and performances. Risman Plaza and the Student Green have quickly become the heart of the campus, signature spaces that instill a sense of pride and connection for the entire Kent State University community.

Related Content article on Risman Plaza + Student Green
Read a summary of design challenges and solutions for these Kent State projects