Specialized living spaces give students community to call home

The International Living-Learning Center, located on the South side of campus, houses students partaking in Innovation Nation and the Global Village, as well as students not part of a Living-Learning Community.

James Trotter, Copy Editor

Many students at Oregon State University have made connections with other students and improved their academic experience through the campus Living Learning Community program. Through OSU’s LLC program, students are given opportunities to more thoroughly engage with different parts of the campus community. According to the Assistant Director of residential education, Ben Medeiros, an LLC allows students the chance to live and learn together with like-minded students in a supportive and welcoming community.

Each LLC is based in a residence hall with a focus that matches that of a corresponding college or community in order to provide easy resource access to the students who will need it the most. Some of the academic resources that LLC’s offer include tutoring, study tables, drop-in advising appointment and career advice, according to Medeiros. Students are also given engagement opportunities ranging from undergraduate research projects to group hiking trips, Medeiros said.

“The benefits that students experience will depend on the LLC and the student’s choice to be involved,” Medeiros said via email. “Students have the chance to learn more about themselves and other students and to engage more deeply in their communities — not just in their residence hall or at Oregon State, but also within our local, state and global communities.”

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The LLC themes cover a broad range of academic focuses as a result of their affiliation with the different colleges. The Health and Well-Being LLC in McNary Hall is associated with the College of Science and the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, and works to connect students with similar interests from both fields, according to the LLC website.

Similarly, the Engineering LLC, located in Hawley and Buxton Halls, helps to integrate new students into the College of Engineering community with themed workshops and a like-minded community. 

Innovation Nation, the name given to the College of Business LLC in Weatherford Hall, Poling Hall and the International Living Learning Community, schedules talks with executives and entrepreneurs, as well as the opportunity to take certain classes in their residence hall.

The LLC program also gives resources to students who may not know what field they are interested in yet, with the EXPLORE LLC. According to Megan Roegner, the coordinator for first year experience, over 60 percent of students change their major at least one time in college. The EXPLORE LLC is comprised of students from all majors, and helps students explore their careers and majors through experiential learning opportunities, including field trips to the Hatfield Marine Science Center and self-assessment classes, according to Roegner.

“The biggest benefit I see to students living in the EXPLORE LLC is that they have a safe space to dig in to exploring themselves, their strengths, values and interests and considering how those might impact their major or career in the future,” Roegner said via email. “They also get the opportunity to talk these things over with staff members and other students who are thinking about the same things.”

LLCs also create opportunities for personal and social growth in the OSU community. The Adventure LLC, run in partnership with the Adventure Leadership Institute, schedules outdoor events under the theme of adventurous experiential learning. Open to first-year students in any major, the ALLC teaches wilderness safety and living techniques through various outdoor excursions in a series of accredited courses, as posted on the ALI website.

The Mindfulness LLC, partnered with the School of Psychological Sciences in McNary Hall, provides students who are seeking personal and spiritual balance and meeting a community of individuals who are interested in spiritual exploration. As listed on their website, this LLC runs a 2-credit course with chair of the School of Psychological Services, Dr. John Edwards, and a 1-credit Physical Activity Course run by the Counseling and Psychological Services staff.

The Global Village in the International Living Learning Community lets all students live with international students from other cultures. Melissa Greff, the resident director of the ILLC, talked about how the Global Village strives to make their program as accessible as possible.

“The Global Village offers events and programs to all of its participants,” Greff said via email. “We do not tailor programs specifically for first-year students because we believe all students benefit from the events and connections facilitated by Global Village.”

Grace Atebe, the director of international services, said that the LLC benefits from not being bound to a single field of study.

“The curiosity of a global mindset doesn’t require a major, anybody could be a part of this community,” Atebe said. “We want people who are interested in developing global skills or some global attitudes that appreciate the differences and similarities that we have as wonderful human beings.”

Atebe went on to say that in the upcoming year, the Global Village is working on adapting their program to focus on the similarities that students share.

“We all like food, arts, music, we all have some spirituality within us,” Atebe said. “We’re trying to center the programming on all those kinds of things that typically bring people together.”

According to Atebe, the Global Village is talking about adding a monthly cultural night, where faculty from the College of Liberal Arts would give talks about different music cultures across the world, and films made by international directors would be shown.

While the Global Village strives to be as open to students as possible, certain events and opportunities will be prioritized for people who live in on the Global Village floor of the ILLC, Greff said.

A complete list of the Living-Learning Communities can be found on the University Housing and Dining Services website.