LLCs foster close relationships

By Chelbi Mims
February 18, 2011

Small classes, personal relationships with professors, real-world experience and long-lasting friendships are a part of the territory at Cabrini. Living and Learning Communities were devised in 2007 to enhance the traits that draw most people to Cabrini’s campus.

Since then, the Living and Learning Communities (LLC)s have grown from two communities to seven, extending leadership, sense of belonging and academic success through past and present students.

“I liked that we lived and learned together even though we did not always get along, we were all sort of like a family with rough patches here and there. Most of us are all doing something important whether it be a student leader, a student ambassador, a student athlete, an RA or a peer mentor, we all developed leadership skills,” Melissa Moore, Voices of Justice 2008-2009, and junior history and American studies major, said.

Living and Learning Communities are broken up into seven theme-based groups: Voices of Justice, Realizing Dreams, E.A.R.T.H., Honors, Commuter Living and Learning Community, Academic and Career Exploration and the most recent, Film and Media Studies.

According to Richie Gebauer, director of Living and Learning Communities, LLCs are designed to increase student retention rate, develop close relationships between peers and faculty that extend beyond the classroom, help students achieve high level of academic success and increase student sense of belonging.

LLCs are known as first-year engagement experiences, which take a hands-on approach to learning. Students live in a tight-knit community, take two to three classes per semester with their community and are involved in activities on and off campus. These communities transform and mold first-year students by specific courses taken, people encountered and activities and hobbies that are precise to the needs of the student.

“It makes you feel like a part of a family straight off the bat. When you’re being shoved into a new situation, like college, it’s great to have that support. It has helped me adjust to college better because I came into it knowing that I was a part of a group, not alone,” Samantha Shea, Realizing Dreams 2010-2011, and freshman psychology major, said.

The LLCs take an off-campus trip. The Voices of Justice take an annual trip to Washington, D.C. in early September to view Monasteries, attend a Nationals baseball game and visit the National Mall. Realizing Dreams takes a trip to New York City  to visit the museum of natural history and shop. They also take a reunion trip to Lancaster, Pa.

“I had only been to New York once, so going there with Realizing Dreams was cool because I became closer with my teachers and my peers,” Abiu Santos, Realizing Dreams 2009-2010, and sophomore accounting major, said.

Each LLC is granted a Master Learner. The Master Learner is a student who has previously gone through a year in the LLC. They are there to guide, direct, lead and build the transformation of the first-year student. They hold tutoring sessions, movie nights and are available to discuss class and personal matters.

“I love being a Master Learner. It has given me so many opportunities of leadership on campus. I am studying to become a teacher so it gives me an opportunity to help and practice tutoring and learning skills on the students,” Emma McNamara, ACE Master Learner, and sophomore math and secondary education major, said.

Not only do students form personal relationships with their peers in their hallway, but they also build personal relationships with their teachers, which remain throughout their college career.

“I loved being in Voices of Justice (VOJ) because I became so close with my professors. I still go to their offices just to talk like once a week. He still helps me even though I am not in the VOJ,” Theresa Agro, sophomore education major, said

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Chelbi Mims

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