CSUN dorm residents could see a new Living Learning Community established in the University Park Apartments next year as Student Housing officials plan for the future of their “learn where you live” residence hall model.
Student Housing officials are in discussions with the Music Department to potentially bring a new music-themed LLC to the dorms by 2006-07, said Melissa Giles, associate director for Residential Life in Student Housing and Conference Services at CSUN.
“It will be similar to (the) CTVA and Engineering and Computer Science (LLCs) because it’s going to be (tied to) a specific academic major,” she said.
The music-themed residence hall would likely have special features to help the students get more involved, Giles said.
“We would like to have a practice room on the floor for students who practice their instruments and voice,” she said. “We would also try to get instruments donated from somewhere.”
The future of the LLC program will also move forward without the Career Exploration LLC, which will be disbanded by 2006-07. Only five students currently live in the Career Exploration LLC, which is located in UPA Building 1.
Giles said Residential Life and the Career Center have made plans to get the center more involved in all of the LLCs next year, rather than just one specific LLC.
Giles said the other five LLCs – First-Year Experience, Engineering and Computer Science, CTVA, Lighthouse Deaf Community, and International and Cultural Experience – have been successful, and that in the long term, she hopes every academic college would have at least one LLC tied to it.
The ICE LLC, which helps both international and national exchange students get familiar with their new surroundings, is in its second year of operation.
Christina Shapland, a resident adviser in the ICE LLC house and sophomore English major, said the ICE residence hall has 66 international students and many national exchange students from New York, Arizona and Pennsylvania, among others.
“Being a resident adviser in the ICE LLC is very different than other buildings in the residence halls,” Shapland said. “One of the best things about living in this building is the diversity.”
A huge sense of community was developed early on in the semester, Shapland said.
“We build up with a lot of little programs, and now you can really see the confidence levels of the international students improving,” she said, adding that the ICE LLC had a cultural potluck event in October.
The Lighthouse LLC is in its third year and caters to the deaf, hard of hearing and deaf studies majors, among others.
Jessica Strohfeldt, resident adviser for Building 6 in the University Park Apartments and senior theatre and deaf studies double major, said her building is known for its “talking hands,” referring to its residents who use American Sign Language to communicate.
“This dorm has high technology of flashing light doorbells so the deaf and hard of hearing are aware of when they have a visitor,” Strohfeldt said. “I love that part.”
Resident advisers in Building 6, also known as Pacific Willow Hall, organize programs that incorporate culture and education for students in the residence hall, she said.
“It’s sad because most of the time when the campus hosts events, they don’t provide close captioning on their films, or interpreters when a speaker comes,” Strohfeldt said. “This makes it more difficult for students to embrace all of what the campus has to offer. That is why the (Lighthouse) LLC is so important, because it has to make up for what a lot of students miss out on outside of the home.”
Strohfeldt said she believes the LLC is a good idea, but it needs the input from others from outside Student Housing to help the students have a better experience.
Aya Oikawa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.