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Big plans in store for Living Learning Communities

By HAYLEE ROBERTS
On April 25, 2013

Marshall University students who live in residence halls on campus have more than a place to live, as they learn and bond with other students.Living, Learning Communities are communities where students who share common emotions, values and beliefs can engage each other in learning together.On many college campuses, this has become the guideline for an interdisciplinary approach to higher education.Psychologists have said there are four key factors that define a sense of community: membership, influence, fulfillment of individuals’ needs and shared events and emotional connections.Living, Learning Communities help students work together in the same interests and values.Next semester, Housing and Residence Life will bring a new aspect of the LLC program into the halls.Amy Lorenz, assistant director of academic initiatives in Housing and Residence Life, said they will try some specific programming in residence halls in the fall before fully launching the program.“For example, we’ll be experimenting with an Explore Marshall concept in the First Year Residence Halls, Marshall Pride over in Gibson Hall and Gaming in Holderby Hall,” Lorenz said. “I’d also love to experiment with some gender-specific programming for the women in Buskirk Hall, such as a Women in Business and a Women in Science and Engineering community.”Lorenz said she would also like to see more Living, Learning Communities start in residence halls on campus in the future.“I’d like for us to have an LLC program in which every student feels like they have a Living, Learning community that meets their social and academic needs. For example, I’d like to see more interest based LLCs, such as pre-law and pre-med, gaming and sports-related communities,” Lorenz said.Lorenz said research shows that Living, Learning Communities are helping students’ success in many different ways.“Many studies show that Living, Learning Communities are strongly associated with students having higher grade point averages, more satisfaction with their collegiate experience and more positive, regular interactions with faculty,” Lorenz said.Ebony Robinson, Greek Living Learning Community Resident Advisor, said LLC’s create a special home feeling for students.An example of a Living, Learning Community bonding together outside of the classroom is the College of Science LLC firing off rockets.All COS LLC students participated in this science activity, including Dean Somerville in COS.Marshall staff and faculty have been working hard to progress in the Living, Learning Community program on campus.“One of the really cool things we are trying to do that is uniquely Marshall is updating the LLC study lounges to fit the themes of the floors,” Lorenz said. “For example, the Honors College is working to put in comfy study furniture and mood lighting in their study lounge in the First Year Residence Halls and in Willis Hall.”“Each of the colleges and offices involved in the LLCs has been working on other ways to personalize the study and social spaces in the halls for their students,” Lorenz said.Any student is able to join LLC floors in the residence halls.Haylee Roberts can be contacted at roberts215@marshall.edu. 

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