Are RLCs Losing Their Appeal and Point?
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2012 10:10
Don’t get me wrong, when I first heard about the RLCs I thought they were going to be a blast.
Looking back upon freshman year I remember the importance and emphasis upon the “life-altering” Residential Learning Communities said I was supposed to learn not only in class but also in my learning communities.
It made perfect sense: live in a community that has the same interests as me and we would all become the best of friends. I would be able to attend classes with students who also had similar interests. The RLCs sounded great until the end of my freshman year when I realized that I didn’t choose an RLC because of its programs or interest, but rather, its reputation and living styles.
Going well into my sophomore year, the RLCs appeal started to wane. None of my building-mates shared any of my classes or my major. Living in Sobrato Hall as an English and philosophy major, I did not know many students who were in any of my classes. It later hit me that after my Critical Thinking and Writing and Cultures and Ideas requirements I wouldn’t have many students to work with or talk to about my schoolwork.
The RLCs promise of academic interaction outside of the classroom within my community became somewhat of an empty lie. As I started to take upper division classes with juniors and seniors, my RLC was looking more and more like a place to lay my head rather than a place to interact with other students who may have the same academic interests.
Although students can attend weekly events and foster a sense of community amongst their fellow students, this year I hardly went to any social events put on by my RLC. Most students I knew were more concerned about going out on a Friday night, and were not aware of any the RLC events. Students’ interests shifted from fostering a sense of community and solidarity, to finding a building that fit their personal social needs.
Though I think that the RLCs are excellent examples of how college housing should be organized, students don’t make living decisions based upon the RLCs interests. Freshman Patrick Farley said “I would rather go out on the town, and like to know more people outside of my RLC.” All I am suggesting is that the RLCs realize that their strong points may in fact not be that relevant to students after their freshman year.
Some RLC events or on-campus events are very popular. Many programs have a strong following and attendance. Yet I feel that most students who are not incoming freshman are not worried about the interests and events put on the RLCs, and this is something that school housing should consider when promoting Residential Learning Communities.