Living Learning Communities see high interest

by Paulomi Rao | 4/11/17 2:10am

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The introduction of house communities last fall does not seem to have affected interest in Living Learning Communities, which make up roughly 10 percent of on-campus housing.

by Tiffany Zhai / The Dartmouth Staff

Despite the recent introduction of house communities at the College, Living Learning Communities, another residential housing option for undergraduates, saw approximately the same number of applications this year as in previous years according to Katharina Daub, associate director of residential education for Living Learning Programs and academic initiatives.

For the 2017-2018 school year, the Office of Residential Life received 400 applications for 300 beds but Daub is still hopeful that most applicants will get their first choice LLC, given students can list up to three preferences. STEM Collective, a new LLC that focuses on approaching STEM initiatives from a humanities background, will be added as a part of the “Design Your Own LLC” program. The Thought Project LLC and the Asian and Asian American LLC have become established LLCs after originating as “Design Your Own LLC” programs, Daub said.

A total of 24 different LLCs will be available in the upcoming year, accounting for roughly 10 percent of the total dormitory options on campus. In addition, 11 of the 24 LLCs will be available to incoming first-year students, with three of the 11 being first-year only.

Julia Granito ’18, a current resident of the Sustainable Living Center, has been living there since the fall of her junior year after a friend suggested it would be a good community outside of the new residential house system. Since she moved in, Granito said she has become more involved with sustainability initiatives on campus and has enjoyed the communal aspect of the house.

The SLC has 20 single dorm rooms, and residents gather every Sunday for dinner. Each week, one student goes grocery shopping and cooks dinner, encouraging many students to opt for the off-campus meal plan. Granito noted that non-residents are also welcome at these dinners, which fosters a sense of outreach and unity.

“One of my favorite aspects is how you can invite others who don’t live there,” Granito said. “Sometimes it’s a nice chance to get everyone together, see people and introduce them to others.”

In addition, Granito said that because the SLC is in an actual house and not just a floor of a dorm building, it allows for more genuine interactions and friendships.

“It feels more homey than a dorm,” she said. “The people choose to live there because their friends are living there … that makes it a pretty special community.”

Other LLCs located in the McLaughlin cluster provide similar opportunities for students interested in learning outside of the classroom.

Tony DiPadova ’19, a resident of the Italian Language Program located within the Global Village LLC, decided to live there after returning to Dartmouth from his Italian LSA+ in Rome during last winter. He hopes that by living on the Italian language floor, he will have the opportunity to continue practicing his language skills.

In addition, DiPadova said he enjoyed that the LLC allows him to live with people from different class years and majors, facilitating relationships with people across campus he might not have met otherwise. A few times each term, the Italian LLC meets for coffee with the program advisor to help build community.

According to Karina Korsh ’19, who lives in the Thought Project LLC, the LLC has allowed the student-run program to gain visibility among campus, foster relationships with professors and be fully funded. The Thought Project seeks to bring together a diverse group to explore different cultures and ideas.

“It’s great to live on a floor where people all choose to be together instead of just a random housing system,” Korsh said. “Everyone is there for reason and it definitely cultivates a sense of community.”

Another LLC, the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network in Residence program has grown in popularity over the last few years because of successful outreach to incoming students.

Sam Barrett ’20 said that one of the reasons he chose to come to Dartmouth was because of the DEN in Residence LLC. Each year the LLC accepts 27 students from all four class years. This year, the application process was particularly competitive due to the growing popularity, Barrett said. With the introduction of the new housing system, DEN in Residence was relocated to McLaughlin from its previous location in the New Hampshire dorm. He noted that although there is a growing number of entrepreneurial programs at peer institutions, Dartmouth’s is unique for its focus on first-year students in particular.

Barrett noted that even though DEN in Residence share a common interest in entrepreneurship it does not necessarily mean its members are homogenous. In fact, Barrett said he particularly likes how the diversity among his floormates has helped facilitate a supportive community.

“We all have entrepreneurial interests, but that’s just one common thread that links a very diverse group of people,” Barrett said. “With diverse backgrounds, interests influence the ventures [students] are in within business and entrepreneurship.”