LLCs mix up the college living experience

By Azucena Gama, Staff Writer

The University’s policy requiring freshmen to live in University Housing can be a headache for many students. However, there are ways to make living in the dorms easier.

Students have 24 University Housing residence halls to choose from. Within the residence halls, the University has Living-Learning Communities. LLCs are certain floors of a hall or buildings that are dedicated to a particular interest, creating a space where students with similar interests can coexist.

“A Living-Learning Community can be one of the options to make a very large university feel more like home and where you can make a connection with a lot of the people on your floor,” said Yulisa Lin, program director for Urbana South LLCs.

There are 11 LLCs dedicated to interests like health professions, women in STEM, sustainability and entrepreneurship.

“I think living in a Living-Learning Community is a very special experience because you can make friends with people from all different backgrounds or people who share a common interest,” Lin said.

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    LLCs also have academic perks. Communities like Women in Math, Science, and Engineering in FAR and Unit One in Allen Hall offer classes in the buildings, which makes getting to class easier and gives students accessible study groups and spaces.

    “You get the best of both worlds, and you get the personal learning environment and engaging atmosphere of a small college,” said Laura Haber, program director for Unit One. “And you get the resources of a large research university.”

    The courses offered can cover general education requirements for math, science and English.

    “Residents can go down a couple of floors and go into their classroom and meet with people who are in their Living-Learning Communities and take the class together,” Lin said. “We always encourage students in our LLC to take classes together because it creates another level of interaction.”

    LLCs also host special events, programs, clubs and trips. They occasionally host group activities, ranging from arts and crafts in the basement to trips to Chicago. Within these communities, students can be as involved as they would like to be, but nothing is mandatory.

    “I think most people get involved,” said Olivia Dencker, freshman in LAS and Unit One resident. “There’s always something to do.”

    Another perk is that students in LLCs can move in two days earlier than the rest of the students living in non-LLCs. This gives students extra time to get accustomed to their surroundings, meet people and explore Champaign-Urbana earlier.

    LLCs do require a supplementary application, which usually consists of just a short paragraph where students must explain why they are interested in living in that particular community. Some programs are more competitive than others.

    LLCs also require a fee to cover extra activities. This fee is usually around $200 to $300.

    Haber said that this is to gauge student interest in living in an LLC.

    “(Program directors) are looking to see how interested students are in that community and what they might bring to that community,” Haber said.

     

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