The Case For Living In A Learning Community

Dorm life at UConn in the ChitChat lounge

A TOUR OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK 

Some Living Learning communities have more specific focuses. For example, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Business Administration runs two Business Living Learning Communities, one called “Business Leaders — Start Your Future Today” and another called “Business Around the World — Global Perspectives.” Freshmen in these communities take three separate classes together in the fall and spring, and hone their leadership skills through team-building activities early on in the semester, said Megan Friesen, the assistant director of academic success and advising for the undergraduate business school program, and the coordinator of the living learning communities.

This past fall, Friesen took the students in both communities on a trip to Chicago, where they were given a tour of Deloitte and this past March, students took a day trip to Kansas City, where they were given a tour of the Federal Reserve. After the trip to Kansas City, staff from the university’s career services office stopped by to conduct one-on-one resume reviews with students.

“They have a head start. A lot of our students are more engaged on campus because they understand the benefits of doing so,” Friesen said. “We try to expose them to a variety of different things to help them find where they can fit in, and how they can make a difference on something they’re excited about.”

UPPERCLASSMEN BUSINESS MAJORS SERVE AS MENTORS

Upperclassmen business majors who used to live in the communities serve as mentors to the students, holding office hours and giving them academic and career guidance. Those types of events, coupled with the day-to-day interactions students have with business students and faculty, help make students like Bailee Smith, a freshman at the business school living in one of the communities, feel more connected to both the business school and the larger business community.

“I feel more passionate about business now. The advisors, mentors and students that I have met through this learning community are all passionate about business and what it can bring us and what we can do with it,” Smith said. “I feel more motivated to continue in the business field and to achieve more than I had previously thought I could.”