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Honors Living Learning Community Bounces Back After COVID-19

| Katie Murphy

Erin McMichael, a second-year resident assistant (RA) for the Honors Living Learning Community (LLC), says this is the first year post-Covid 19 that feels “normal.” With students feeling more comfortable leaving their doors open and attending events, this year is shaping up to be one of the best yet.

The Honors LLC is on the second floor of Bridgeman Hall and is specifically catered to the needs of the Honors students that live there. Even with a variety of disciplines represented on the floor, the LLC provides connections between like-minded individuals in the program.

Honors LLC Dr. Quinn-Lee and student

Giving students resources and support that will help them succeed in college is an important aspect of the LLC. Dr. Lisa Quinn-Lee, a social work professor, acts as a faculty mentor/ co-leader for the residents. One of her roles is to help the students acclimate to campus by introducing them to resources on campus and within Honors.

Dr. Quinn-Lee also wants students to feel comfortable meeting with their professors. She says, “I also try to be a friendly face so that students, especially first-year students, know that professors want to help and that professors are just people; we're not too scary.”

The hall’s RAs, Erin McMichael and Elijah Wolf, have both been part of the Honors program since their freshman years and the LLC RAs for two years. With their extensive knowledge of the program and desire to help students wherever they can, they serve as excellent role models.

Honors LLC students showing their cookie decorating skills.

According to Dr. Quinn-Lee, the Honors LLC provides residents with an immediate sense of belonging. A third-year LLC resident, Ray Nelson, was shy coming into college and knew he wanted to be in a place that encouraged him to meet new people.

During all of the honors info sessions, they talked about how much fun the LLC was and I'm like, yeah, that's exactly something I want to be a part of,” Ray states.

One of his favorite parts of the LLC is how supported and connected the residents feel with each other. There will always be someone to lift you up and push you to be your best self. These close-knit connections carry on outside of Bridgeman’s walls. Many students have formed lifelong friendships, and Elijah says, “Once they leave the LLC, they have friends throughout their college career that they can always fall back on.”

Furthering that sense of community, the RAs and hall leaders frequently put on events for their students to get them involved and engaged on campus. One of the floor’s favorite traditions is their cookie decorating event; students and staff put their creative energies into designing fall-themed treats. Dr. Quinn-Lee says that cooking and baking are some of the aspects of home that students miss most. Bringing that back for them is not only fun, but meaningful to the students.

Honors Assistant Director and LLC RA

Early move-in and ice cream socials give residents a chance to socialize and form connections. The RAs also try to get their residents involved in other places on campus. They hope to bring students to Hilltop Recreation to try bouldering or archery. This upcoming year is bound to have plenty of activities and field trips for the residents to enjoy.

For many students, the Honors LLC has changed the course of their college life. Without the support and community offered to them, who knows what college would have been like? In the words of Ray, “I credit a lot of where I've been to starting in the LLC.”