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Making Yourself at Home with Living-Learning Commu...

Making Yourself at Home with Living-Learning Communities

What if I told you that there’s a better way to live on campus than playing roommate roulette? Every year, students scour Facebook groups and make phone calls to find people that they could tolerate living with for the next year. This doesn’t even include the frantic refreshing of the self-assignment portal to grab the perfect dorm room to place your claim on. Instead of stressing over roommates and which dorm to choose, give yourself a study group, a support system, and a potentially great group of friends by signing up for a Living-Learning Community!

Surround yourself with people interested in the same things

At its base level, a Living-Learning Community (LLC) is a group of students who usually (but not always) live in a particular location on campus. Most of the participants not only live together, but take classes together, go on trips together, and experience campus as a group.

Maybe you’re an aspiring pilot? Interested in the arts? Looking for jam session buddies? It doesn’t matter what you’re studying or what hobbies you have, you’ll find an LLC that will enhance your college experience. As most of us who’ve lived on campus know, the “ice-breaking” period is just a handful of students trying to find common interests. If you join an LLC, half of that battle is already won – you’re surrounding yourself with people who have something in common with you. Some students even stay in their community throughout the entirety of their college years!

While most of an LLC’s participants live on the same floor of the same dorm, they make frequent exceptions.

“The unique part of our Living-Learning Communities is that they are not exclusive. Other universities will have a designated floor and only those people can participate. Ours are much more fluid and inclusive,” says Michelle Safewright, the Director of Housing and Residential Life.

“For example, you may be a student in MTSU’s Honors College and live in Lyon Hall, which is where we hold our Honors LLC, but you may also be a Biology major who wants to join the ChemBi LLC. In our program, you have plenty of options.”

Connect with classmates and faculty outside of the classroom

Pictured are some members of a team of MTSU students and mentors involved in a “big data” consulting project between the MTSU Data Science Institute and Nashville-based Hytch LLC, the social impact technology company behind the Hytch Rewards platform. Shown here in a campus classroom, from left, are Brandon Boshers, a Master of Science in Information Systems major with a concentration in Business Intelligence and Analytics; Rob Harrigan, Ph.D., who’s mentoring the team and is a senior machine learning engineer within the Applied Machine Learning Group at CBS Interactive; Nick Matala, a Master of Science in Information Systems major with a concentration in Business Intelligence and Analytics; and Kiran Donthula, a doctoral student majoring Computational Science. (Submitted photo)

Some members of a team of MTSU students and mentors discuss a “big data” consulting project between the MTSU Data Science Institute and Nashville-based Hytch LLC, the social impact technology company behind the Hytch Rewards platform. Shown here in a campus classroom, from left, are Brandon Boshers, a Master of Science in Information Systems major with a concentration in Business Intelligence and Analytics; Dr. Rob Harrigan, who’s mentoring the team and is a senior machine learning engineer within the Applied Machine Learning Group at CBS Interactive; Nick Matala, a Master of Science in Information Systems major with a concentration in bBusiness intelligence and analytics; and Kiran Donthula, a doctoral student majoring in computational science. (Submitted photo)

While the social benefits of joining an LLC are awesome, the academic benefit that comes from joining one is unmatched. Early on, you are given a recommended schedule to follow that will match you up in classes with members of your community. This means that you probably won’t need to leave the comfort of your dorm to have a great study group. Studies have shown that you’ll typically do better in classes if you know your classmates and can collaborate effectively with them, so take this opportunity to surround yourself with awesome students who live with you!

In addition to having that close-knit study group feel, you also have a great opportunity to interact with faculty members in your major outside of the classroom. Most of the communities are designed with help from faculty to provide a unique learning experience. For example, the Music at Middle LLC features a faculty member living in the same building to serve as a mentor for the students. Faculty interaction is important because of the connections you can make with professionals in your industry and the mentorship they can provide.

Some faculty members will lead trips to various sites that have to do with their area of study. For example, the Diverse World, Diverse Arts LLC may visit an art exhibit or a live performance as a group. This allows students to connect what they’re learning about in their classrooms to applications in the real world.

What options are available?

Department of Recording Industry professor Matt Foglia works with students in his audio production class inside Ezell Studio D, one of the fully equipped music recording and production studios for students in MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

Department of Recording Industry professor Matt Foglia works with students in his audio production class inside Ezell Studio D, one of the fully equipped music recording and production studios for students in MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

With 13 Living-Learning Communities currently available to students, you are sure to find a group that you can mesh with. Here are a couple of examples of communities you may be interested in joining.

Diverse World, Diverse Arts is an LLC that focuses on every aspect of art and expression. From theatre and dance to music and visual art, this group works to integrate art into every aspect of college life. You don’t need to major in art to join, but you get a great opportunity to network with arts professionals and participate in artistic programming on campus and in the Middle Tennessee community.

The Global Learning Community is a community that has two main target markets: international students and students who are planning to or already have studied abroad. Living in House 7 on Greek Row, this group is focused on appreciating and finding common ground with other cultures. Faculty with ties to internationally related fields of study interact heavily with this group, providing great opportunities to network and participate in culture-focused social and academic programming.

The True Blue LLC is designed to help develop the leadership and civic skills of its members. The community focuses on the core values of the True Blue Pledge: honesty, integrity, respect for diversity, getting involved in the community, and choosing reason over violence. If you join this LLC, you’ll be given ample opportunity to develop yourself as a person and as a representative of your school.

But that’s not all! Here is a list of the other  Living-Learning Communities offered at MTSU. You can click here to learn more about them:

Aerospace Learning Community

• Chemistry and Biology Community (ChemBI)

• First Year Experience

• Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Science Community

• Give Me a Beat LLC

• Honors Living and Learning Center

• Music at Middle LLC

• Nursing Learning Community

• Pre-Professional Programs Learning Community

• Women in Science and Engineering (WISE)

 


Author Kobe Hermann is a junior at MTSU, majoring in management in the Jones College of Business and minoring in business administration. The views and opinions expressed above are his own and don’t necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of Middle Tennessee State University.



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