New residence option for Augustana students commenced this year
Now in its pilot year of operation, the Living Learning Community (LLC) has encouraged a group of Augustana students to combine academic life with non-academic life in an integrated way through intentional living.
“The LLC is an opportunity for students to live together with intentionality,” said Angela Chytracek, Augustana student experience coordinator. “They live together with an added educative and community focus.”
Chytracek said that communities such as Augustana’s have been adopted in North America and supported in many universities. “It’s kind of influx where each university will adopt the ideal LLC in a way that fits with their residences – there’s a lot of literature about how beneficial they have been.”
The LLC house is located on the land bank east of the soccer field and is part of Augustana residence. The students have the freedom to create their own house rules around topics such as visitors, food, cleaning, use of common spaces, and alcohol, with final approval coming from the Executive Director of Student Life, Randal Nickel.
Mary Cairns, second-year biology student and LLC resident said that the house provides the best of both worlds when it comes to residence. “You have the freedom and independence of a furnished house, including a functional kitchen, a designated study room and a huge backyard with a deck – and you’re minutes away from campus.”
Throughout the application process, student groups apply with specific projects or learning objectives. “The women living there now focus on wellness. Each month they choose a different type of wellness and create monthly and daily projects,” said Chytracek.
Chytracek said that the students did a physical wellness month where they tried new activities like Tai Chi, yoga, and kickboxing. They also did a mental wellness month and focused on journaling, art therapy, tracking emotions, and expression.
“The women in the LLC have been really focused on building healthy community within the five of them – the ways they approach and deal with conflict, the way they communicate, and the ground rules they’ve set up make them really supportive of each other,” said Chytracek.
Candice Huculiak, second-year piano student and LLC resident said that the community is a small step into real life.
“Dealing with different types of personalities, resolving conflicts, and even cooking and cleaning are all aspects of life that we will eventually encounter,” said Huculiak. “The LLC has given me the skills to learn how to live with four other individuals all coming from completely different backgrounds while creating a comfortable living space.”
Chytracek said that the students are learning from each other in a unique way.
“Nothing is better than knowing I live in a space where I am not only accepted, but encouraged to be myself, try new things, and make mistakes,” said Alanna Blanchette, second-year psychology student and LLC resident. “Endless support and personal growth are just a few of the benefits of the LLC.”
The current students in the LLC have the support of their advisor, Pamela Moskie, psychology professor, and the supervision and guidance of Chytracek, as there is no resident assistant assigned to the house.
“It is open for students to decide on their projects. We wanted to get a lot of good student buy-in, so we didn’t want to assume we knew what projects would be suitable,” said Chytracek. “Students get to choose their experience, whether it be wellness, sustainability, or language learning.”
“Overall, it’s been a remarkable experience. Every time I meet with them we talk about how the experience has been and it’s been super positive,” said Chytracek. “It’s never easy, but I think that the shared intentionality on a project gives them an extra boost.”
Any group of 5-7 students entering their second year of academic studies or higher can apply to live in the LLC with a proposed learning objective or project. For more information email Angela Chytracek at firstname.lastname@example.org. Later this semester, the LLC will host an information night and open house for students and community members who are interested.