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LLC program no longer mandatory, effective next year

By Sarah Knepp, For The Miami Student

Beginning next year, incoming first-year students will not be required to choose an LLC upon enrollment at Miami University. Instead, LLCs will become optional.

The LLC system started in the 1980s, according to Tresa Barlage Zianno, an associate director in the Office of Residence Life (ORL). However, students were not required to live in an LLC until 2009, the same year the two-year on-campus living requirement was implemented.

"When we implemented the two-year living requirement, the research said students living in LLCs perform better, so we started the practice of requiring the living learning communities," Zianno said.

The decision to change the LLC system came last fall after a committee of students and administrators, led by a new vice president of community affairs, tried to answer the question, "Are LLCs still meeting the needs of the students?"

"What we were finding was that we were having large communities that were general focus and that's where most of the students were going," said Zianno.

These "general focus" LLCs are akin to the RedHawk Traditions LLC and the Explore Miami LLC, before it was removed this past fall. With the removal of Explore Miami, an even larger number of students chose to live in RedHawk Traditions.

Next year, instead of requiring students to choose an LLC, ORL will be offering a "general housing" option to accommodate this trend.

The general housing option does not mean that incoming first-year students get to choose the exact residence hall or room they will live in. Those placements will still be up to the ORL.

"What we find is that if we assign a community and we say what hall it's going to be in, suddenly people are choosing a hall instead of a community," Zianno said.

Sophomore Megan O'Connell has a good understanding of the LLC system because of her job as a campus tour guide. She said she liked the premise of the system.

"I think the concept of LLCs was great because it allowed students of similar interests or majors to live together," she said.

Other students see this change as long overdue.

"Personally, I don't remember which LLC I belonged to," said sophomore Annie Kister. "I think it's not essential for incoming freshmen to live in one. There are many other ways on campus that allow them to meet people who share their interests and to get involved."

Although students will not have to live in LLCs, the LLC system will still exist.

Despite the change, residence life will remain community-based. Zianno said all halls will provide first-year students with adequate resources to help them acclimate to college life, regardless of whether they are associated with an LLC.