Nursing and pharmacy students, originally housed in Hillside Hall, will be assigned to Heathman Hall next semester. Photo by Greg Clark.

As of the fall 2020 semester, the University of Rhode Island’s living learning communities (LLCs) will shift in hopes of making the walking commute and adaptability to campus easier for students.

According to Housing and Residential Life (HRL) Coordinator of Educational Programs, Deborah Bergner, the process of being placed into housing will remain the same, meaning students can choose whether they would like to be part of the LLCs or not.

One of the changes include moving pharmacy and nursing to Heathman Hall from Hillside Hall. The education LLC will move to Adams Hall from Butterfield Hall. Bressler and Butterfield Hall will house the business students and humanity majors such as philosophy and English. Language majors will be housed in Hillside Hall. Additionally, since Heathman Hall was originally rising sophomore housing, Gorham Hall will now take its place as an upperclassmen dorm.

Bergner said many universities switch their LLCs around. The locations have changed around for multiple reasons, such as proximity to academic buildings on campus.

“We are excited about [the pharmacy and nursing LLCs moving to Heathman Hall] because geographically the students take classes in White [Hall] and the chemistry building and CBLS, and it puts them even closer,” Bergner said. “When we talk about that to our first-year students, they think that’s great. They talk about Heathman as a location that would be helpful to them because that’s where their circle of classes is.”

According to HRL Director Frankie Minor, in executing these changes the University is working to create more study spaces and gathering areas in Heathman Hall.

“Nationally, what institutions are finding is they can’t create enough small study spaces,” Minor said. “Part of the reason we’re moving them to Heathman is so they can have more space, but we’re taking a little bit off so they will still have some of the study spaces which are actively utilized here.”

Minor said that overall, the University is trying to create more small spaces in all of the dorms for students to use.

“We’d love to be able to create those and additional spaces,” Minor said. “As we begin to look at our other plans we’ll look for other opportunities to do it.”

HRL is hopeful that the LLC changes will benefit students and create a more positive experience for them. He said there are a lot of factors that go into creating a comfortable and easy time for students to adapt to college life.

“In general, what we do know is that learning communities tend to create a more positive experience for our students,” Minor said. “One thing that might [apply] is the proximity factor. Our students have to go to class wherever it is, but faculty, if it’s more convenient to stop by and do an extra study tutorial or something like that, it’s much more likely if they don’t have to walk as far.”

Additionally, HRL will hire more Resident Academic Mentors (RAMs) to assist with the addition of majors to the dorms. Hillside Hall will now have another RAM to assist with the mentoring of language and humanities students.

“We’re trying to make sure that we’ve got the appropriate staffing based on demand,” Minor said.

There are also plans for upperclassmen LLCs in the works as well as honors housing. The “Think Big Innovation” LLC in Eddy Hall will be offered to returning business and entrepreneurship students. An honors undeclared LLC in Barlow Hall will also be an option for students.

“If you look at many other institutions, if they have LLCs, honors is one of the more common ones,” Minor said. “ They allow all students, regardless of major, live together, but the common thing to have is that they are all honors students.”

Bergner said that she wants perspective students to know their housing options and see the convenience of being close to their academic buildings, as well as all of the resources and spaces they will have to utilize in their residence hall.

“A lot of other institutions don’t even announce the locations until closer to the next academic year,” said Bergner. “We kind of moved it up to January so that students who are accepted can value and added opportunity when they are making their choices.”

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