Staff editorial: LLCs provide support system for participants

The Office of Residential Life recently announced its new Living Learning Community housing option for students next year. These Living Learning Communities will replace the previous BLOC system, with three options currently available: the Hamsini LLC, the Women in Stem LLC and the option to design your own. According to Residential Life, these LLC’s “are themed based communities that intentionally place students into a community where living, learning, and leading is dynamic and constant.” The ones we have are great, but there should be more.

The already established Hamsini Living Learning Community in House 5 has been overwhelmingly successful. The LLC introduced residents to a network of people and programs that hone in on “cultural awareness, academic success and civic engagement.” The Hamsini LLC fulfills the goal of having a black affinity space at Washington University that dates back to 1968. Essentially, it’s been a long time coming for the Hamsini LLC, and arguably for all LLCs at Wash. U. in general. Options similar to Living Learning Communities are already an established part of many peer institutions like Brown University, Cornell University and Duke University.

The other predesigned option, the newly established Women in STEM LCC, was created in partnership with the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies department and will premiere next semester as two apartments in Millbrook, and will be composed of up to 16 STEM-focused students. Residents will live in a space with other students experiencing the same rigor and challenges of STEM fields, and residents will have the opportunity to mentor other students.

The final option afforded to students who wish to live in an LLC requires applicants to design their own LLC around a central theme and recruit a group to live there. While a great option for some students, having to put together a large enough group to qualify can be daunting for introverts or those without access to a community from which to recruit. To help remedy this, we hope that the University will provide more predesigned options in the future from which to choose.

The Hamsini and Women in STEM LLCs are an incredible step forward for the University, but the design of even more structured LLCs would take pressure off of students to find people with a shared interest and instead bring more formerly isolated students together.

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