The University of Rhode Island’s Department of Housing and Residential Life (HRL) will add two new Living and Learning Communities (LLC) next year; one for natural sciences and mathematics majors, and another for social and behavioral science majors.
LLCs are on-campus communities that group students with the same or similar majors in the same residential buildings in order to help build a sense of community.
Adding the two new LLCs to the preexisting ones will help HRL be inclusive of students from different majors.
“All first-year students will have a relevant LLC for their intended major,” stated Deborah Bergner, coordinator of educational programs for HRL.
The University has LLCs for student’s first year only, with two exceptions: students in the Honors and International Engineering programs have LLCs in both Aldrich Hall, Garrahy Hall and the IEP house, respectively. First-year students are eligible to enter LLCs automatically, according to URI’s website.
Bergner is HRL’s liaison with academic partners helping to form LLCs and was heavily involved with creating the new additions. According to her, there’s also a logical process to putting different LLCs in different buildings. For example, both of the new LLCs will potentially be placed in Hillside Hall.
“It made sense to put them into Hillside where the other LLCs were for [the College of] Arts and Sciences,” Bergner said.
This placement would give Hillside the highest number of LLCs compared to any other dorm. Besides the two new LLCs, Hillside hosts the LLCs for the Harrington School of Communication and Media, the Fine Arts, Humanities and Design program and the Chinese Flagship program.
After these LLCs are established, the only major left without a determined LLC will be neuroscience, which is not being offered as an undergraduate program yet. While the program will be in an LLC, HRL is still determining where students majoring in it will go.
The move is not expected to affect current housing and placement of LLCs, according to Bergner.
With the new LLCs will come new Resident Academic Mentors (RAMs) in those majors. RAMs are upperclassmen living in freshman dorms who help organize study sessions, schedule activities and keep a sense of community throughout the LLC.
The new LLCs will give Hillside more RAMs than any other academic building, with five in total. The only LLCs with more than one RAM are the engineering and business programs, due to their large size. There is one RAM per each building that holds the Engineering LLC (Hutchinson, Peck, Merrow and Tucker Halls) according to URI’s website.
The move is also expected to entice students that may major in one of these subjects to attend URI next year.
“We want students to feel good about [living with other students in the same major] and have a sense of belonging,” said Bergner. “If we’re providing that for these other groups of majors that didn’t have that, it’ll only help URI.”
Emma Phillips lives in Hillside and has a major in the Harrington LLC.
“It’s a pretty good thing, because you get to know other people within your classes and you get to talk about the same stuff,” Phillips said.
Hannah Coppock lives within the Harrington LLC as well, but is a chemistry major.
“It’s definitely a lot harder to focus and actually relate to people in some of the classes,” Coppock said.
According to studies by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU), students in LLCs felt they made a smoother transition to college, both academic and socially. Also according to studies made by the AACU, students in LLCs developed better critical thinking and application of knowledge skills throughout their time in college.
This article was published in the Feb. 20, 2020 edition of the Good Five Cent Cigar.