Grace Cavanaugh ~ Copy Editor
Students at the University of Lynchburg have the opportunity to join several different residential living-learning communities.
“Experience a residential community that supports and enhances your academic goals and endeavors,” encourages the University of Lynchburg website. According to the website, there are currently four residential learning communities on campus: the Westover Honors College Community for First Year Students, the Dimensions of Diversity Community, the Westover Honors College Community for Upperclass Students, and the Spiritual Wellness and Mindfulness Community.
Lauren Adkins is a resident of the Spiritual Wellness and Mindfulness Community. She said, “Last year was a very hard year for me personally, and [I] and the school thought it would be good to be involved in a community focused on spirituality and meditation.”
Julia Melone, a resident of the Westover Honors Upperclass Community, said, “I would not have joined another community, but I really enjoyed my time on [the fifth floor of Montgomery Hall], and I thought I would enjoy bonding with the Westovers again.”
Jacqueline Villanueva Areva, a resident of the Dimensions of Diversity Community, said, “When [Annette Stadtherr] sent out an email with information on what [the Dimensions of Diversity] community was about, I immediately knew I wanted to be part of it.”
Adkins said, “Living in a dorm is drastically different than living in this community. Last year, I would go to class and go to my room and repeat. It is very bland, living in a dorm. Living in a community, I feel more connected to the school and my peers.”
According to Melone, “The biggest difference is that you know and (usually) like your neighbors. When I lived on a random Tate floor sophomore year, I never met, let alone spoke to, any of my neighbors. This year, people are so kind and friendly. They ask me how I’m doing and make conversation. There’s also the added work of whatever your group requirements are.”
Melone continued, “I love being able to live with the people I see in my classes and at Westover events. It makes it easier to study and such.”
Villanueva Areva said, “I love living in this community. It is a safe place and over the last few months that I have been living with my hallmates, we have created closer relationships with each other through the activities we host in our lounge.”
“My favorite part of our living community is when we all get together for culture sinners and book club,” she said.
Adkins took a more personal approach, saying, “My favorite part of being in this community is the relationship I have made with Nathan Albert, our associate chaplain, Steve Dawson, and my RA, Heather [Hobbs].”
Villanueva Areva revealed, “Coming from a very diverse high school to a predominantly white school I was nervous to meet people here but the dimensions of diversity community helped me overcome any fear and I had more confidence when it came to interacting with other students.”
There are several different ways to get involved with the communities. Melone said, “I saw the Westover professors advertising it a lot, and I was really intrigued because I’m very dedicated to the program.”
Villanueva Areva said, “I just said I was interested in living there.”
When asked about what they would say to someone who was considering a residential learning community, Adkins said, “I would say to find a community that is in your interest and join it! But you could also find a community not in your interest and join that one because it is important to try new things when given the opportunity.”
Melone said, “I say to just go for it. It really lets you bond on another level you wouldn’t otherwise get.”
Villanueva Areva echoed Melone, she said, “I would say that it is a great way to make friends and I highly recommend it.”
She continued, “We want to make sure everyone feels accepted at this school and this living community is perfect for anyone that wants a safe place to live.”
Melone said, “I would love for more of us to create communities. They’re so worthwhile.”
Adkins finished, saying, “Try new things in college because when you graduate you will not be easily given these opportunities.”
To express an interest in a community, please contact Residence Life or the community coordinator of a residential learning community as listed on the University’s webpage.