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Eight new LLCs to be added next year

Miami University's Office of Residence Life (ORL) is bringing eight new Living Learning Communities (LLCs) to campus for the 2019-20 school year.

There are currently 29 LLCs on campus that range in focus from broad themes such as Academic Neighborhoods to specific themes such as Nursing. The new LLCs that will be added this fall were introduced because of student interest expressed to ORL.

According to the Director of Residence Life Vicka Bell-Robinson, Miami founded its LLC program in the late 90s after the merging with Oxford's Western College for Women. The system that existed prior to the LLC system provided pockets of learning; however, the majority of students did not participate, Bell-Robinson said.

The primary focus of the LLCs is to provide an easier transition for students into the undergraduate life and to enforce inclusive learning.

"This idea that we want to connect the inside of the classroom to the co-curricular things that are happening beyond the classroom is not a new idea," Bell-Robinson said.

Five of the eight LLCs being introduced this fall are referred to as "Career Clusters." Three of the five Career Clusters will be business-oriented due to the vast number of majors involving business on campus. Prior to this year there has only been one LLC geared towards business students which is the Entrepreneurship LLC. Now there will be more specialized business LLCs including "Accounting and Financial Services," "Economics and Data Analytics" and "Management Sales and Consulting."

In addition to the Career Clusters in business, there will also be a career cluster called "Students Still Exploring" and one geared towards the ROTC program. Both of these will provide an idea for prospective job opportunities for students in the field of their choice.

"It's not magic. There will opportunities facilitated by the RA or the live-in staff, and you will have the opportunity to engage in those things," Bell-Robinson said.

The other three LLCs being added this fall include Bridges Scholars, Discovering Miami, and Film and Video Making.

Every year, the ORL asks students for feedback regarding their LLC, and they ask what they would like to see.

"A big telling of whether an LLC is successful or not is if a student knows which LLC they are in," Bell-Robinson said.

The way to tell if an LLC is effective amongst students is if students are aware of the benefits of their LLC and if they are taking advantage of these opportunities.

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First-year Colin Sellers is currently living in the LLC known as "Guys in Engineering and Computing." He finds it to be convenient that he is living amongst other students in the same courses that he is currently taking.

"Whenever it comes to struggling in a class, chances are someone else is willing to help," Sellers said.

There are oftentimes instances where second-year students propose their own LLC. A group of 30 students can come together with any common interest and request to live in the same residence hall. This often leads to a future of new LLCs that have a large following, said ORL Associate Director Tresa Barlage Zianno.

"We can have all kinds of good ideas, but if it's not something that students want, then it is not going to be a successful community," Zianno said.