LLCs beat the quiet dorm blues

For students who are looking for a different living experience than that found in traditional residence halls or apartments, a Living Learning Community may be the solution. Living Learning Communities, or LLCs, are “programs that have financial and staff resources dedicated to a particular group of students,” said Lydia Khuri, the program coordinator for the Global Crossroads and Intersections Living Learning Communities.

Each community allows students with common interests to live together, take classes with each other in their residence hall, and participate in various programs sponsored by their LLC.

Some communities are based on academic interest, such as Women in Math, Science, and Engineering, located in Trelease Hall. Others are based on extracurricular interest.

For example, Global Crossroads is an LLC focused on global issues and international relations. The community has a diverse membership — about half of those involved are international students. “Just because people from diverse backgrounds are put together, it doesn’t mean they will form a community,” Khuri said.

Living Learning Communities focus on “intentional community building”, she said.

One way LLCs form communities is through offering classes where every student is in the LLC.

“It’s really convenient. I can just walk downstairs to class,” said Sean Zdeb, freshman in DGS and a member of Weston Exploration, an LLC that encourages students to explore their interests, and connect those interests to possible majors and careers. Zdeb, who has two LLC classes that meet in Weston Hall, also enjoys the small size of these classes, and the fact that he knows everyone in them.

LLCs also offer extracurricular programs for members to participate in. Intersections recently took an overnight trip to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Intersections also has a student-run program called Real Talk, where students meet periodically to discuss issues related to diversity and social justice. Global Crossroads has a similar program called Cafe Internationale, where students meet to have a dialogue about their cultural backgrounds.

Khuri stressed, though, that while LLCs are based around serious themes, students have a lot of fun.

Eddie Diazmunoz, a freshman in FAA, agrees.

“Everyone on our floor gets along really well,” said Diaz, who lives in Weston Hall.

Zdeb said he chose to live in Weston Exploration because he had heard that LLCs offer a better social experience than traditional residence halls. He’s found this to be true, saying “it’s more open” than what he’s seen of his friends’ residence halls.

“Figuratively, it’s open,” he said, “People’s doors are open.”

LLCs can be a way to make adjusting to a new campus easier, said Khuri.

“You have a sense from the beginning of a community … you know where your home base is.”