Living Learning Communities and the future of residence at StFX.
Over the past few years, conversations have been circling about students' experiences living in the different residences across campus. Residence life is a staple of the StFX experience, as most students will live on-campus at some point in their academic career. StFX is currently working to create residence experiences that are as positive as possible for all demographics of students on campus.
Kerri Arthurs, the Residence Education Coordinator, explained her role in this process. She is responsible for the educational programming that takes place across all residence buildings and the partner programs developed within the Res Life office. Arthur also oversees the kinds of programming opportunities that our Community Advisors - formerly known as Residence Advisors - and Hall Directors implement within their own specific buildings.
This year, Arthur and her team have been working hard to implement a new initiative; Living Learning Communities within residences, for the upcoming academic year, 2018-2019. The office has partnered with various faculty and university departments to design and develop multiple components of these communities in hopes of creating a more personalized living and learning experience that suits the needs of a diverse body of students. The implementation of these communities will work to elevate student life here at StFX as well as student’s unique residence experiences.
This will be the first time Living Learning Communities (LLC) will be implemented here at StFX. Kerri points out however that LLC’s have been successfully implemented in universities across Canada and in the United States. The team at Res Life have used the research and best practices that have come out of other initiatives to create an LLC platform that is unique and catered to our school specifically.
There will be two academic-based communities that will be in place, tailored to incoming first year students: The Humanities Colloquium LLC which will be placed on the first floor of Bishops Hall and the Nursing LLC which will be placed in Mount St. Bernard. These communities will allow students to incorporate their academics into their living environments in hopes of creating a more holistic space in which students can learn and develop together.
There will also be three lifestyle focused communities which will each take up a floor of MacIsaac Hall, which is set to reopen in the fall of 2018. These communities will be open to students of all ages, years and academic backgrounds. The first is The Wampum Project which is a floor dedicated to indigenous reconciliation and engagement in this process.
The second is the EcoLiving LLC which is available for students who have a passion for the environment and reducing their ecological footprint. The community will focus on environmental awareness, sustainability and ecological consciousness within residence and the wider STFX community.
The third is a Quieter Lifestyles community, which have extended quiet hours and greater noise restrictions for students who enjoy to live in a space that is less loud than a traditional residence floor may be.
The fourth community is Substance-Free, and is an opportunity for students who choose to live substance-free lifestyles to live in an environment that is itself free of substance use. The application portion of the residence life website outlines that it is the responsibility of each member of this floor to maintain the integrity of this community.
Applications are now open for the 2018/2019 academic year so current students who are interested in being apart of a Living Learning Community may apply to do so online.
This initiative is intended to improve and diversify the lives of future and current students at StFX. Hopefully, through this process, students will be able to achieve a residence experience that works for them as individuals as well as allowing them to interact with others who have similar interests and values of themselves. Living Learning Communities hopes to foster a community of diversity here on campus, and become a more attractive residence option for students for years to come.