Living Learning Communities expand to meet growing interest

9/13/2010 - By: Krystal Pyatt

Three new Living Learning Communities are in place this fall at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the increase reflects the University’s growing enrollment and the increasing popularity of these residential options.

Living Learning Communities are on-campus residential options that help students make connections and develop friendships with those who have similar interests. Wings or areas within the residence halls are dedicated to these communities and include places for group study and activities.

“Students are part of a community that they can study with, and they help each other succeed academically,” said Teri Galvin, the area coordinator for the University’s Residential Life, Housing and Food Services. “This program connects the students to the campus while uniting them with active faculty members. It is important because it brings students together with common goals and interests.”

After high numbers of engineering and journalism majors expressed interest, it was decided to create Living Learning Communities dedicated to these majors plus a third, new interest-based community for students interested in music, art and theater. These new communities are in addition to the three already available: the Honors Residential Scholars Community, the PAC (Powerful Academic Communities) which is open to students of any major and based on students sharing their math class, and WISE (Women in Science & Engineering).

“We have had the idea to expand for years now, but with the large number of students in journalism and engineering, we knew it was time to offer a Living Learning Community for them,” Galvin said. “There are so many ways a student can benefit from these programs.”

Living Learning Communities target first-year freshmen, but the connections last throughout their college years. The program began five years ago and is designed to help students stay in school, graduate and succeed beyond the classroom. The communities provide educational and social opportunities to students who have chosen to live on campus.

"Students accepted into Nevada's Living Learning Communities cultivate the skills and abilities needed to succeed at the University through a variety of unique experiences,” said Shannon Ellis, vice president for student services. “The close interaction with faculty and experiential connections to the University curriculum help all participants develop leadership and community-service values."

In response to the University’s growing enrollment, initial planning has begun for a new 300-person residence hall specifically designed to accommodate Living Learning Communities. Each floor would include study and library space, with four living “pods” for approximately 18 students to allow for smaller group interaction. Residential Life, Housing and Food Services also hopes to have classrooms right in the building to create seamless, in-depth learning environments for students and encourage interaction with their faculty and other scholars. The timeline for construction has not been determined, although groundbreaking could take place as early as 2011.

For more information, see Residential Life, Housing and Food Services.


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