3 Ways LLCs Can Use Resource Sharing to Empower Student Success

· by Ben Michalak

As a Residence Life professional, you play a crucial role in shaping a student’s college experience beyond the classroom. Residence halls offer more than just student housing; they provide opportunities for holistic development through Living-Learning Communities (LLCs) and their ability to offer growth opportunities right outside their door. LLCs are visible, popular, and can serve a range of student interests, from sustainability to art to multiculturalism. 

Within the framework of LLCs, strategic programming plays a pivotal role in stimulating growth through social learning and giving students a place to succeed in a non-academic setting. A major piece of this success relies on their access to community-specific resources. If a student deliberately requests to live in a specific LLC, that LLC should support their decision by providing resources to aid their efforts. 

You can leverage the strength of your LLCs to provide students with the resources they need to learn, reflect, and succeed in their college careers. In this blog post, we’ll explore three ways LLCs can serve as catalysts for student success by promoting resource sharing and providing essential support through targeted programming. 

1. LLC-Themed Events

First and foremost, developing a calendar of theme-based events and activities aligned with the focus of your LLC is key. No matter your theme, the possibilities are endless! Here are just a few examples of events LLCs can host: 

> An arts-related LLC can host music jam session events or mural painting initiatives in the hall. 

> A wellness-related LLC can hold stress-reduction events like meditation, yoga, journaling, or even offer creative DIY activities like making stress balls out of balloons and sand. 

> A diversity-related LLC can host world food nights, conversations on race and gender, or in-hall charity events that benefit a desired cause. 

LLC-themed events are a perfect way for students to connect with each other in fun, thoughtful, and intentional ways that promote personal growth and development. Empowering your Resident Assistant (RA) staff to lead and plan themed events is another added benefit of prioritizing your LLC, adding depth to their roles as peer mentors and leaders. 

These events can also increase student awareness of accessible in-hall resources. Involve LLC-specific equipment, tools, or materials in your events and show students how they can access them outside scheduled activities. 

2. Collaborative Events

In addition to the events listed above, planning LLC-related activities that welcome in campus professionals or student-run organizations is a great way to support student success within your residence hall. The insights and experience of others, especially those in professional positions, is a tool students can use to broaden their perspectives on campus life. 

For example, the UMass Amherst Commonwealth Honors College hosts Pizza & Prof Night, where a professor visits a college residence hall and hosts an informal discussion about their research. These types of events are fun, stimulating, and break down the barriers that exist between students and professors through its setting in a comfortable, non-academic environment. 

Other types of events include: 

> Academic and life planning: These events could suit any situation, but if your residence hall has an Honors College, Business, or First-Year Experience LLC theme, inviting professionals from your college’s Academic Advising or Career Planning departments is a great way to support student success. 

> Student organization-based events: Depending on your LLC, there are probably student organizations that have similar aims, goals, and ideas. Multicultural LLCs often invite associations that service or support students of a given heritage. Community Service LLCs may invite service organizations to collaborate on projects within the hall. 

Professional and peer resources must be treated as a cornerstone of student success. Once they make these crucial connections within their residence hall, students are far more likely to seek out the academic, social, and professional resources at their disposal. 

3. Make Resources Public

Professional and physical resources, ranging from access to student organizations and campus offices to essential living and academic supplies, should be readily available to students in your residence hall, plain and simple. 

Every student is different, but it’s best to err on the side of transparency when it comes to spreading information. You can urge your RAs, connected students in their own right, to be open about their interests and the resources they’ve turned to on campus in the past, like student organizations and various offices on campus. Additionally, make the most out of wall space to hang posters, fliers, and other advertisements for on-campus student-focused resources. 

Physical resources are arguably the most important to student residents. As a Residence Life professional, your impact on student success extends far beyond your ability to provide quality programming and a safe, welcoming living environment. By making basic resources available, like cleaning equipment (vacuums, sanitizing sprays, and Swiffers) and essential academic items (computer chargers and calculators), you can decrease any stress associated with their need, while also saving your students money. LLC-themed resources, like speakers, yoga mats, or art supplies, can also prove necessary to students with a vested interest in your LLC. 

However, ensuring these physical resources are both accessible and manageable presents a unique challenge. Traditional check-out methods control resource allocation at the cost of visibility and convenience; items are often kept behind staffed desks or tucked away in RA closets where students might not realize they exist or be able to access them when needed. On the other hand, freely available items risk misplacement or theft, which makes inventory management impossible. To navigate this conundrum, innovative Residence Life professionals are turning to automated rental platforms like RecRe. This technology not only improves resource accessibility outside conventional hours but also facilitates the tracking and management of your rental inventory. Pairing RecRe with your residence hall can extend access to resources that enrich students’ campus experience, while enhancing social activities like LLC-themed events. 

Our campus partners at the University of Cincinnati implemented RecRe in their Residence Life facilities and saw success across all metrics. If you’re interested in learning more about their approach to RecRe, click here to download a case study on their progress.