Students can live and learn together

By Amanda Carson
September 24, 2009

Cabrini College’s Living and Learning Communities have been designed with the intent to interrelate the social and academic aspects of the college experience. For the 2009-2010 academic school year, the college offered fi ve LLCs. All accepted students were eligible to apply.

Each is now working to smooth the transition into Cabrini for its enrolled first-year students.

“It’s rejuvenating,” Dr. Daryl Mace, faculty for Voices of Justice, said.

LLCs have brought together small groups of about 21 freshmen students who, for a year, live and learn together. Accepted students had the option to apply before coming to school.

Students in these LLCs live in the same residence hall and are enrolled in the same section of multiple courses. These courses are linked together by a cultural theme.

For example, the LLC entitled Academic and Career Exploration is aimed at helping students who are unsure of their major determine interests and identify personal skills.

Other themes included: ACE (non-residential), EARTH, Honors, Voices of Justice and Realizing Dreams.

LLCs also facilitate co-cirricular experiences both inside and outside of the residence halls, such as trips to Washington, D.C. and retreats.

Realizing Dreams had an all day leadership, communication and diversity retreat on Saturday Sept. 19.

“Throughout the day, we had many moments of realization about ourselves and the ways in which we interact with each other. I was really proud of the commitments that we made to our community in order to increase respect and understanding,” Dr. Michelle Filling, faculty for Realizing Dreams, said.

These communities have proven to be beneficial for all involved, including assigned faculty advisers and master learners.

Studies have revealed that students enrolled in LLCs are more likely to have a higher GPA and be more engaged with their studies.

The bond for these students, however, is unmatchable.

“It was easier to make friends, we trust each other,” Michelle Soraes, freshman psychology major, said.

“Within the first weeks we became close really quick,” Rory O’Connor, freshman communication major, said.

For faculty, they act as a source to “co-teach and co-design with colleagues,” Dr. Nancy Watterson, faculty liason for the LLC Voices of Justice, said.

Master Learners are given the opportunity to act as a student mentor for students in the LLCs.

“Master learners are interactive. We act as a friend and assist academically,” Lauren Bariglio, sophomore elementary and special education major, said.

Mace hopes that through the LLC experience, students will take what they learn in the classroom and bring it back to their residence for discussions.

“If we talk about something that opens our eyes, we bring it back,” Emma McMamara, freshman education major, said.

Mace, along with Watterson, believe that these LLCs are truly rewarding for students involved.

“They have divinity for their school,” Mace said.

Watterson said, “Not only do they get an academic challenge they are practicing skills that crosses the bar of discipline and raises confidence.”

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Amanda Carson

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