Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX to launch seven new living learning communities in residence

January 26th, 2018
In September, StFX will launch seven new living learning communities (LLCs) in its residences, providing space for students who want to live and learn and immerse themselves in a community tailored to a specific academic or lifestyle interest.

Starting this fall, StFX students will be able to take advantage of a unique living and learning opportunity designed to deepen the academic experience.

In September, StFX will launch seven new living learning communities (LLCs) in its residences, providing space for students who want to live and learn and immerse themselves in a community tailored to a specific academic or lifestyle interest.

“Living learning communities are a new initiative offered through Residence Life next year where students will live with other students, peers with similar interests,” explains Residence Education Coordinator Kerri Arthurs.

Each LLC is associated with one or more faculty departments and organizations, and the idea, she says, is that these communities combine academic and social learning, enhancing opportunities for development and learning for students outside the classroom.

Each community will have a primary faculty advisor as well as programming tailored to suit the interests of the students living in the community, Ms. Arthurs says, providing a real benefit as students take part in academic and creative programs with their peers, faculty members and community.

“It’s really about experiential learning,” says Student Life Director Jacqueline De Leebeeck who says many universities today are realizing the potential for students living in LLCs to experience that bridge between academic and community learning.

“It’s neat to see how these communities have evolved that suit a diverse range of students,” Ms. Arthurs says.

“We’re able to launch this neat roster that appeals to a broad range of students and offers opportunities for everyone. That’s really exciting.”

The seven new LLCs will include two academic-focused communities, one for first year nursing students in Mount Saint Bernard residence and the other in Bishop’s Hall for first year students enrolled in the Humanities Colloquium; as well as two interest-based communities and three lifestyle communities, each open to students in all years and all disciplines.

The interest-based LLCs will include EcoLiving; and the Wampum Project. This latter LLC, for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, is inspired by the theme of reconciliation and is a project that will wrap up with the launch of a new residence experience for students in September 2019. The lifestyle LLCs will include Substance-Free Living; Quieter Lifestyles; and Single Gender (All-Women). Each will have a dedicated floor in MacIsaac Hall, which reopens in September.

Ms. Arthurs says that while a similar option of living together in residence had existed for Humanities Colloquium students, this launch will infuse it, and all LLCs, with focused programming that extends student learning outside of the classroom, applying structure and formalizing something that was already in place.

Earth sciences professor Dr. Dave Risk, faculty advisor for the EcoLiving LLC, says he’s been interested in this concept for a long time, and was familiar with the Humanities Colloquium offering. “That practice is so fantastic, to have students who are like-minded living together, it’s so clear to me how it would benefit the classroom,” he says, noting the potential it has to carry on dynamic conversations long after class time has ended.

“It’s exciting to be able to get those students together and give them some friendships and programming.”

“It’s a great project. It’s going to do good,” agrees fourth year anthropology student Tamara Cremo. As an Indigenous student, she says when she first came to StFX she experienced some culture shock and says at first she was a bit afraid to talk to professors and other students. “I think if I had this opportunity, I would have been more comfortable,” she says.

She says finding people that share your interests helps break the ice and helps students find that comfort zone.

Ms. De Leebeeck is excited by the possibilities.

She says when you bring together like-minded people from different disciplines and perspectives, it has the potential for great collaboration and new ways of looking at issues happening in the world.
Dr. Risk says he sees potential for even more leadership growth. “The seeds of collaboration between students are so much more likely to happen.”

Ms. De Leebeeck says the plan is to expand and grow these communities in future and she encourages interested students and faculty to get in touch with ideas.

New, incoming students can indicate their interest in living in an LLC next year on their StFX application. Other students interested in applying or wanting more information are encouraged to email living.learning@stfx.ca or to check out www.stfx.ca/llc for more information.

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