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Record Number of New Residence Life Communities Offered This Year

September 15, 2016

Michelle Adams O'Regan
Communications and Marketing
(603) 641-7240

Alumni Hall on the campus of Saint Anselm CollegeAs a largely residential college, Saint Anselm offers many traditional housing opportunities for students on campus. However, the Office of Residential Life also offers a unique special interest option: Residential Learning Communities (RLCs). These communities were initially developed in the 2008-2009 academic year, as an extension of the college's Benedictine identity; utilizing the monastic community as a model, they provide simultaneous living and learning environments, creating a holistic way of college life that fosters Benedictine values in a productive and student-friendly way.

This year, the college is offering a record number of six RLCs on campus. In his convocation address to the community on September 8, college president Dr. Steven R. DiSalvo praised the extension of these communities and the important work that they do: "Working with faculty as mentors, now many more students will be engaged in learning about self-selected topics such as cultural differences, diversity, issues of personal health and responsibility and community service."

This housing option is available to any student who is a rising sophomore, junior or senior and is in good academic and judicial standing with the College at the time of application, and during their entire residency. Student groups of four or eight members must apply by designing a thematic approach to living together as a group, and must provide a mission statement, a list of relevant research material and an educational design identifying four programs that will be completed each semester. Once accepted, they must integrate their chosen theme into their daily lives while also serving "as a resource and a voice to educate the broader campus community." Students are expected to consider and design themes around ideas such as civic engagement, expanded learning, spirituality, leadership development, balanced living, and social justice.

Students in RLCs receive significant faculty and staff support in their endeavors to stay relevant and focused. Assistant Director of Residential Life Michael Murphy explains that "faculty advisors help guide the RLCs in the research they do for their topic, and the Res Life staff members help them implement the program."

The experience has provided successful learning and growth for many students; in fact, some groups even decide to extend their communities for multiple years. Samantha Cuomo, a junior and member of the RLC "Body Image and Society," now in its second year, comments on the experience: "We developed the idea for our RLC as we finished up our freshman year, not exactly knowing where it would take us, just being driven by a topic that we as young adults feel very strongly about. Now, as juniors, we could not be more thrilled with the progress our group has made not only in contributing to our own self-growth, but in the benefits to the college campus as a whole."

2016-2017 RLCs:

Community Service and Engagement in the Living Learning Commons
Members: Nina Lukens, Jenna Sagarino, Benjamin Moffett, Joshua Caruso & Jacob Cohen
Advisor: Professor Jennifer Thorn

Mission in Summary: This group strives to embody the Anselmian spirit through acts of service, with plans to help others on campus learn about service and how their participation in the Saint Anselm and Manchester communities can enhance their own experiences here on the Hilltop.

In Living Color in Father Bernard Court
Members: Jada Burke, Nyatan Bol, Joaly Rosario & Laura Monegro
Advisor: Rebecca Senna, Assistant Director of the Multicultural Center

Mission in Summary: This group aims to enrich the Saint Anselm community through quality programming that exposes students to cultural diversity, understanding, tolerance, and universal acceptance of all peoples.

College Survival Guide: Living and Learning Independently in Father Bernard Court
Members: Karah Kaffel, Riley Guyette, Molly Bass & Elizabeth Torrey
Advisor: Professor Renee Turner

Mission in Summary: The goal of this RLC is to encourage development of practical life skills while facilitating independence and health in the context of the Benedictine traditions of the college. The group advocates the principle that the value of self-sufficiency and the growth of the community are intertwined and depend on the ability of others to care for themselves.

S.O.S. How to Find Balance on a College Campus in Holy Cross Hall
Members: Hannah Johnson, Emily Fitzgerald, Annmarie Asal, Lindsey Carpenter & Samantha Kennedy
Advisor: Professor Joanna Parolin

Mission in Summary: The mission of S.O.S. is to research and promote balanced, healthy living through holistic means. They will strive to enhance their lives as well as the lives of their peers in a positive way while living within the sometimes stressful confines of a college atmosphere.

Body Image and Society in Saint Benedict Court
Members: Samantha Cuomo, Kelsey Frahlich, Lauren Kennedy, Taylor Hanley, Lauren Vitone, Marissa La Fosse, Danielle Phinney & Amelia Gould
Advisor: Professor Jennifer Thorn

Mission in Summary: This RLC group will be returning this year with a refreshed mission and a few new members. They plan to promote confidence and compassion amongst their peers with regard to body image and the impact of society on that image.

Health and Wellness in the Living Learning Commons
Members: Marie Bonin, Samantha Delaney, Jennifer McCarthy, Caitlin Williamson, Giovanna Beaulieu & Nicolette Theroux
Advisor: Professor Jennifer Thorn

Mission in Summary: The goal of this RLC is to encourage education and growth of the whole person. They will focus on promoting wellness in all areas of life including mind, body, and spirit.

Story by Margaret Lynch '17

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