Living Learning Communities (LLC), at UW- Eau Claire have been an important part of campus culture for many Blugolds. Connecting students based on their interests, passions and academic goals, the Honors LLC has become a vibrant community for past, present and future students.
Located in Bridgman Hall, it has become the center for all things Honors. The LLC hosts community events ranging from study groups, to craft nights, to field trips.
Students have attributed the success of this LLC to the connections they make with other like-minded people. They are surrounded by a community that understands the value of the Honors Program, while simultaneously bringing their own diverse perspectives and experiences to the table. Being able to learn in a classroom, as well as from your peers has become a key point of this community.
Erin McMichael and Elijah Wolf, this year's resident assistants (RAs), are looking forward to a year of fun and education. “In Bridgman we like to use the phrase ‘Boomin and Vibin’ to describe the environment of our communities. We want people to have fun, be involved in the hall and form connections and relationships with other students,” McMichael said.
Both McMichael and Wolf said the Honors Program allows students to access unique courses that challenge them to explore new topics they may have not known they had an interest in. They emphasized how being a part of the Honors program has “improv[ed] [their] leadership skills and opened up so many doors.” Wolf and McMichael both strive to help students connect with each other and build the same types of relationships they have found in Honors at UWEC.
Because of these types of shared collective experiences, the resident assistants are able to “provide programming and events to help these students succeed academically and also find a community with other academically motivated students,” McMichael said. They both have been a great resource for students as they settle into their new college environment—being people students can confide in, come to for advice or to feel a greater sense of community.
Wolf said he wants his residents to feel comfortable with each other so they can form friendships that last beyond their time at UW-Eau Claire. According to McMichael, these lifelong friendships are beginning to come into fruition. “It’s just really awesome to be able to walk around the wing and see people with their doors open and hanging out with each other,” they said. They both have a lot of optimism for the future of this Living Learning Community and are excited to continue developing the LLC for current and future honors students.
They have helped students feel comfortable by taking them to Welcome Week events, hosting movie nights and creating a welcoming environment in their hall lounge and wing. A new mural in the Honors LLC lounge, painted by honors graphic design major Carly Bower, plus new beanbag chairs have helped to make the space inviting and homey. This year, LLC students also had the opportunity to move into their residence hall three days early. LLC residents got the chance to meet honors professors and student leaders and to settle in with each other before classes began. Later this semester, Wolf and Elijah have more fun activities planned that include cookie decorating and a Halloween party.
One LLC tradition that continues this year is Powerpoint Night--where students gather, take 5 minutes to design a Powerpoint on a subject of their choosing, and then present to their friends. What ensues is a celebration of everything LLC students are and what they bring to the community. Over cheers and laughs, students share what they love and learn about everything from why the Lorax is the best movie, to how to excel at Mario Kart.
Outside of this supportive community, they encourage their residents to get involved on campus. “Go to events and join a student organization, you never know what opportunities will come to you, if you just put yourself out there,” McMichael said. Wolf advises students to make an effort to cultivate a relationship with faculty and staff both in the Honors Program and within your area of study. They are valuable resources to go to for academic questions, career advice and anything in between.
Students who are interested in learning more about the Honors Living Learning Community can check it out on the Honors website!