Student Life Organizes Interactive Living-Learning Communities in residence halls

International relations major junior Shekiqua Reid (pictured right),  communication major junior Luc Turnier (pictured center) and psychology major sophomore Oumou Wague (pictured left) sit in the common room of Wyoming Hall.  Wyoming Hall is home to the Global House Living-Learning  Community and in the fall 2018 it will house a new LLC focused on food culture. (Izzy Graziano/Knights’  Life Editor )

The Department of Student Life will implement two new Living-Learning Communities in Putnam and Wyoming Halls. These communities aim to supplement the existing LLCs across campus and provide a different residential experience. 

The additional LLCs include Putnam’s Leadership, Management and Entrepreneurship House and Wyoming’s Food Culture House, according to Assistant Director of Student Life for Educational Initiatives Meg Reitz. 

“Now there’s actually [an LLC] in every single residence hall. When people are signing up for housing, the LLCs will be listed there and students can choose one,” Reitz said. “There’s a couple of questions that are being asked for every single one of them, essentially asking why they would want to live there.” 

The two new houses were suggested by adjunct lecturer in the School of Business and Founder of Eagle Ridge Consulting LLC Robert Vlosky, along with members of Student Life. 

“I’ve been in business, marketing, sales. I’m an entrepreneur. I own my own tech business in Rochester,” Vlosky said. “So, I’m very interested in entrepreneurship and I’m very interested in developing students’ business skills. I want to light a fire in the belly of students who are interested in this.”  

For the Food Culture House, Student Life will partner with Campus Auxiliary Services to help students understand the way that food production, transport and consumption affects the environment, according to Vlosky. They will do so by working with Geneseo’s e-garden and Foodlink food pantries in Rochester, Vlosky said.

The Leadership, Management and Entrepreneurship House will focus on skills to help students accentuate their leadership abilities. Vlosky plans to invite business leaders from Rochester and to organize trips to sites pertaining to this field of study. Despite the focus on business skills, Vlosky maintains that the house is for those who are interested in business or those who are merely interested in  gaining leadership skills. 

The purpose of LLCs is to create learning experiences outside of the classroom for students, according to Reitz.

“There’s actually kind of an engaging and experiential aspect to it,” Reitz said. “If you can do hands-on things, if you can get outside, go to museums, go to things with someone to guide the process, then you can apply a lot of the learning that happens in the classroom and start to make connections beyond your discipline.” 

To highlight these aspects, students who join the houses will have the option to enroll in a one-credit course that adds to their experiences. 

Reitz also emphasized the importance of creating a support network for students who have difficulty transitioning to college.

“The students who are coming from high school are used to having the support in and out of the classroom,” Reitz said. “Coming to Geneseo is a big shift if you don’t have that supportive community outside of the classroom. We’re trying to build that into every single student as soon as you get here.”

Vlosky believes that the LLCs will encourage students to remain at Geneseo by engaging them outside of the classroom. 

“Retainment is an issue Geneseo has had,” Vlosky said. “What I’ve found over my years of teaching is that if you provide the students with a good experience, both academic and in their personal lives, you’re more apt to retain them.” 

Reitz believes one of the major benefits to LLCs is increasing students’ feelings of belonging. 

“You’re not alone. College is hard, it’s hard for everybody,” Reitz said. “But you can also explore your interests in a way that you can connect to people and be successful.” 

News editor Malachy Dempsey contributed reporting to this article.