A Closer Look: Living Learning Communities

By Caroline Berens | 9/25/14 4:30am

As I was filling out my housing application for my freshman year at Dartmouth, a number of questions came into my head – do I want a double or a triple, am I neat or messy and is there any way to manipulate my application so that I avoid the River? But the biggest question of all I had was, what is a living learning community?

I soon found out that LLCs are basically residential communities aiming to foster unity by bringing together people with similar interests and goals. East Wheelock is the oldest and most well known LLC, but three new ones have joined its ranks this year — Triangle House, Global Village and Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network in residence. Although we are only a few weeks into term, the different communities have garnered mixed results.


Triangle House, located at the edge of campus on North Park Street, aims to provide a welcoming community for LGBTQIA students and orchestrate discussions, service, and action pertaining to LGBTQUA politics and identities. The building itself, described by residents as large and new, contains a spacious kitchen, living room and movie room that gives it a homier feel than regular dorms. Residents attend weekly brunches at the house where they eat together and discuss current topics in the LGBTQIA community — the most recent one was, “What’s queer about queer politics?”

Faculty fellow and live-in advisor Brianne Gallagher says these brunches “give Triangle House a great sense of community and acceptance.”

Residents also engage in writing projects and a termly Sage Circle, where students share stories about their activism in the LGBTQIA community. Thus far, despite its less-than-ideal location, Triangle House seems to be enjoyable place to live and a great community for students interested in LGBTQIA issues.

Global Village LLC in the McLaughlin cluster in Goldstein, Thomas and Byrne II, aims to bring an international perspective to Dartmouth. Residents are expected to participate in weekly events and activities that foster a broadened worldview and improved understanding of complex international issues.

Beth Bloom ’18 said that it has been a “unique experience to meet so many international students that I might not have met in other residential communities.”

However, others alleged that it has been unremarkable and operates much like any other dorm.

Residents have expressed that the LLC lacks a sense of community, especially because it is mixed class housing, and attendance at the programmed activities has been poor.

Perhaps more programing will kick in later in the term but for now, it seems that the Global Village is more of a regular dorm with a larger number of international students than a living learning community.

Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network in residence, located on the fourth floor of New Hampshire Hall, is an LLC devoted to entrepreneurial goals and providing its residents access to various innovation-focused departments at Dartmouth. Residents are expected to engage in activities including workshops and experience trips on a weekly basis, and also have the opportunity to take mini-trips to cities like Boston and New York City that are fully funded by Dartmouth.

Kevin Nguyen ’15 praised the community for “integrating entrepreneurship with the undergraduate experience,” adding that he is “excited to see where the DEN in residence learning community will go.”

Perhaps it is too early to say for sure, but residents seem to enjoy living in DEN and eager to take advantage of the many opportunities it offers.

Caroline Berens