Living Learning Community to enhance schooling

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Cinema and television arts majors from a living learning community in the dorms enhance their skills and become better prepared for their classes and the real world through projects and workshops, according to CTVA LLC organizers and residents.

Students interested in joining the CTVA LLC have a specific building, Bayberry Hall in which they reside with other students interested in the same field.

“With LLCs, we house students in residence halls that have a certain theme that can bond them with other students who share the same interests,” said Mike O’Neal, community coordinator of learning and assessment in Student Housing.

Other fields of study with LLCs are Engineering and Computer Science, the Lighthouse Deaf Community, the First-Year Experience, and Ice House International and Cultural Experience and Career Exploration.

Through the CTVA LLCstudents can learn more by participating in the community projects they are assigned at no extra charge, according to O’Neal.

Last year the community’s focus was on film as opposed to television. The students helped produce short films and some freshmen and sophomores in the LLC helped seniors with projects.

This year, the focus will most likely be on film again, O’Neal said.

Students are able to work on their community projects by using equipment that is available inside the CTVA LLC building. Students have cameras, editing programs on the computer, lighting and an editing room within shouting distance of their laundry room.

Having all the equipment available helps the students by allowing them to become more familiar with the various tools of production, which in turn could help them prepare for their classes, said Jon Stahl, professor in the CTVA Department.

There is a lot of freedom with the community projects, O’Neal said. Students are free to come up with projects of their own to work on, which is different from other projects the students work on in the department, that are usually confined to course curriculum.

Despite many of the students in the community working on the projects, residents may choose not to work on a project at all, O’Neal said.

The projects are assigned to help the students enhance their skills with the equipment and get them ready for more difficult classes.

Students in the community who are working on projects are more likely to be better prepared than other students, Stahl said.

Students are currently in the planning process on a short film, said Ryan Snow, freshman CTVA major and resident of the CTVA LLC.

“People learn a lot about themselves with the experience,” O’Neal said. “They learn of their career choices and develop skills for their future classes, and that makes them more prepared than some students.”

The community not only learns through experience, but they learn from mentors that visit and give them tips on their work. Juniors and seniors living in the community may help mentor the younger students and CTVA professors visit the students to help them.

Stahl visited the community last year to talk about screenwriting and hopes to do the same this year.

“Some of the professors do go out there to talk to the students because they can really benefit from that,” Stahl said.

The CTVA LLC can help students prepare for classes and their field and also allows them to network with one another.

“It’s good because when you get older and start working, you’ll still know some people in the business,” Snow said. “It’s a good way of knowing people.”

There are also some classes that are taught at the residence halls so the community students can attend classes close to home, O’Neal said.

The CTVA LLC is in its second year, but it already has nearly 90 students who decided to join the community. The majority of them are first-year freshmen and all of them reside in almost three full floors of Bayberry Hall, O’Neal said.

Though the CTVA LLC website said it requires residents to be CTVA majors to be a part of the community, not all the students are CTVA majors. About 90 percent of the students are CTVA majors, while the rest of the students consist of broadcast journalism majors, art majors or any other majors related to the CTVA field, O’Neal said.

The community was formed last year to enhance students’ skills and provide students with a place where they can work on their projects or schoolwork.

Recent CSUN graduate Ryan Orange, who had the support of CTVA professors Nate Thomas, Temma Kramer and Stahl, founded the CTVA LLC.

Oscar Areliz can be reached at oscar.areliz@csun.edu.