A Look Inside Mason’s Living Learning Communities
Posted: May 2, 2011 at 1:01 am, Last Updated: April 29, 2011 at 5:58 pm
By Aisha Jamil
Being a member of a Living Learning Community (LLC) is one of the best experiences a student can have at Mason, according to Kara Danner.
“As a member of an LLC, students can enjoy all the usual advantages of living on campus all the while getting the benefit of living among a group of people that share your interests,” says Danner, LLC development director for University Life. “Mason’s LLCs give students a unique, inclusive living experience that helps them learn in and outside of class.”
LLCs provide residential students with a similar focus of study or goal and broaden their horizons with their experiences together as a community. Students are assigned to residence halls based on their interest of choice.
“The way that I like to think of LLCs is that they start you off living with a group of people who share one of your major interests,” says Rheal Radwany, a freshman double majoring in economics and Chinese. “In the case of the Honors College, that means I am living in a building of 200 students who are all devoted to learning.”
The Honors College LLC offers students an individualized access to the intellectual and cultural resources of the university. Students have a chance to participate in leadership service opportunities for societies such as the Mason Life Book Club and Leadership Fairfax.
“The Honors LLC is full of people who are not just diligent, but they are also passionate about what they study, what they are learning and the organizations that they lead or are a part of,” says Stephanie Tran, a sophomore majoring in global affairs. “Being a part of the Honors LLC has exposed me to a lot of different interests and ideas.”
Alongside Honors, there are many other significant LLCs as well. These include the arts, business economics, engineering, global studies, outdoor explorations and career exploration. The New Century College (NCC) LLC is open to students in the Cornerstones Program for freshman or integrative studies majors.
“The NCC LLC helps students in similar programs get to know each other, study together, simply grab lunch and hang out!” says Misty Hensley, student services coordinator for NCC. “Students get to participate in special NCC events such as a trip to the Baltimore Aquarium or visiting the theatre in D.C.”
“I think this is a great way to help students build a Mason family quickly, and learn about resources on campus and throughout the greater D.C. area!” says Hensley.
Although LLCs are primarily geared toward first-year students, many upper-classmen provide mentoring for their peers.
“It forms immediate connections and bonds within the Mason community,” Danner says. “It creates friendships that sometimes last a lifetime.”
Students and faculty members who are part of the LLC are required to attend a minimum quota of events that initiate team-building activities.
“Whether it’s attending a lecture or watching a movie together, we like to encourage on-campus events that relate to the theme of that particular community,” Danner says.
Students are encouraged to become actively involved and engage themselves in group activities.
“Active involvement in a LLC allows students to expand their perspectives and understanding of the world around them,” Danner says. “It increases their interaction with their peers, faculty and staff members.”
Joining LLCs can facilitate in creating life-long bonds and friendships, according to Nathalia Peixoto, assistant professor for electrical and computer engineering.
“The friendships they form in their first year are carried throughout their lives,” Peixoto says. “The influence of the LLC is much stronger than I could have suspected. The LLCs are the scaffolding and the support structure for their academic and personal lives at the university and beyond.”
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