Last weekend, Sept. 10 and 11, 535 incoming freshmen and transfer students from the University at Albany’s Living-Learning Communities (L-LCs) rolled up their sleeves and took part in a variety of volunteer activities along with Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and other community and university volunteers.
The new students wrote letters to service men and women in partnership with SEFCU and sorted and refurbished books children’s books for the Red Bookshelf Project, which places the books in bright red bookshelves in shelters and offices where children and families are encouraged to take and keep them. Volunteers also went into the City of Albany to work on projects aimed at: neighborhood cleanup and park plantings; alleviating hunger and food insecurity; and helping children and the elderly. They worked to build an urban garden in Albany’s South End neighborhood, provided meals to seniors, created ‘hero masks’ for children with disabilities, built a ‘create space’ for artists, and cleaned up the Pine Hills neighborhood.
New transfer students also supported the Sept. 11 ‘Meet, Munch & More Block Party’ community-building event in the Pine Hills neighborhood coordinated by UAlbany’s Office of Neighborhood Life. Students and neighbors were able to visit resource tables and enter in drawings for free giveaways, as well as enjoy free food, live music, student group performances and games.
“Since our Living-Learning Communities have grown so much, we’ve had to broaden our community service day into a weekend filled with different service activities,” said Assistant Vice Provost for Student Engagement Linda Krzykowski. “Through our service weekend, we help create communities that engage new students both academically and through co-curricular involvement.”
Living-Learning Communities were introduced at UAlbany in the fall of 2011 and are designed to allow students to live with other incoming students who share the same interests or major. Each L-LC is a distinct “world” comprising like-minded students, a primary faculty mentor, a dedicated advisor, community assistants (typically grad students), ambassadors (second year students who lived in that L-LC the previous year) and representatives (freshman chosen to take leadership roles within their communities). Residents of an L-LC have the opportunity to take classes together and dine weekly with their faculty mentor; they can also take part in weekly curricular or entertaining activities within their respective “world” and attend two “all-world” events each semester.
The school has doubled the number of L-LC communities on campus for the current school year and offers two different types: major-specific communities and special interest communities. There are currently 31 L-LCs housing about 775 residents. Major-specific communities include “worlds” of: Accounting; American Politics; Biology; Business; Chemistry; Digital Forensics; East Asian Studies; Engineering and Applied Sciences; Global Medicine and Human Rights; Laws and Justice; and Psychology. Special interest “worlds” include: Career Discovery; Community Service; Creativity and Entrepreneurship; Environmental Sustainability; Health Psychology; Humanities: What is Being Human?; Past and Present; Theatre; Well-being and Fitness; and Writing.
Interested incoming students can apply to join an L-LC when they apply for housing at the university. Any questions should be directed to the Office of Student Engagement at UAlbany.