Living learning communities offer new opportunities

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Beginning this semester, the Department of Cinema and Television Arts is offering CTVA 250, an introductory course in film production, in Bayberry Hall of the University Park Apartments.

“It’s new to the dorms, but has always been a prerequisite for the major,” said Michael Hoggan, the CTVA professor who teaches the class in the residence hall.

One section of the class was transferred to the dorm location in an effort to continually improve the CTVA Living Learning Community, a specifically themed residence hall for on-campus residents who are CTVA or pre-CTVA majors. CTVA LLC residents have access to a private digital video editing room and a new 24p digital video camera.

“We have better equipment, but not a lot of it,” said Michael Ordonez, freshman pre-CTVA major. “We have to share a lot.”

“When it’s finals and everyone’s trying to do their projects, (the editing room) will be just like the 405 Freeway,” said Ivan Ramirez, junior pre-CTVA major.

This section of CTVA 250 is the only class being taught within the UPA. Originally, a section of CTVA 220, a media writing course, was scheduled to be held in the UPA, but was cancelled.

“It’s so convenient,” said Sabrina Dominguez, freshman pre-CTVA major. “Most of the people in the class live in the dorms.”

There are students enrolled in the CTVA LLC section of the CTVA 250 course who do not live in the UPA. Ramirez commutes from Palmdale each day. The class itself isn’t a problem, but Ramirez has trouble getting to his next class on time, he said.

“I have to go and tram it,” Ramirez said. “The distance is not working to my benefit.”

In total, there are six living learning communities in the UPA: CTVA, Engineering and Computer Science, The Lighthouse (for deaf, hard of hearing ,and deaf studies students), First Year Experience, Global Scholars, and Career Exploration.

Living learning communities are meant to be academic and professional aids to the students that reside in them, said Jason Andrews, community director for the Park North area of the UPA, where the CTVA LLC is located.

“It’s just an opportunity to get to know people with the same interests,” Andrews said.

“Being in the living learning community, I’ve learned so much (more) about film than I ever would have this semester,” Dominguez said. “We’re all a big family in the (CTVA LLC).”

Some of the living learning communities were started prior to the beginning of the 2003-04 academic year as a joint proposal between the Department of Residential Life and the respective departments associated with each LLC. The CTVA LLC opened in Fall 2004.

These communities do not cost extra for the students to reside in, and do not produce new expenses for the university. The CTVA 250 course, for instance, had minimal setup costs and fees to move equipment into the CTVA LLC, but like the other living learning communities, is paid for through a combination of Student Housing Department funds and departmental support. Additionally, the living learning communities can oftentimes bring in extra money.

“There’s more opportunity to drum up funds,” said Dave Brewer, community director for UPA Park East.

Residential Life will accommodate students in other majors who look to start a new living learning community, granted there are enough requests for such a community.

“The CTVA LLC was student-driven,” said Andrews. “It’s the flagship of our department.”

As of now, there are no concrete plans for future classrooms in any of the other living learning communities.

“Space-wise, not all of the buildings have the room,” Andrews said. “No new physical spaces are being built.”