Residential Learning Community Empowers Students

May 9, 2018

By Brayden Rollins '21

This academic year, students involved in residential learning communities (RLCs), a form of living learning program at the college, explored topics ranging from female empowerment to music and health. RLCs give students who are living together the opportunity to focus on a chosen subject for an entire academic year. Through programs and events, they share their knowledge and experiences with the Saint Anselm College community.

A student-driven, application-processed program, RLCs are run by the Office of Residential Life and Education. Participants choose subjects or topics of study associated with a class or with a personal passion, as in the case of the “You Go Girl” RLC this past academic year.

Coordinated by Cori Swanhart ’19 (nursing), Caroline Ireland ’19 (social work), Martha Heavey ’19 (nursing), and Abigail Nolan ’19 (international relations), “You Go Girl” was focused on spreading a message of female empowerment across campus. The group sponsored movie showings on campus and led discussions on topics such as body image and Native American women’s rights. One of “You Go Girl’s” most unique programs is “You Go Girl of the Week,” where the RLC used an Instagram account to feature a student who was nominated by her peers and celebrated for her accomplishments.

“We wanted to create a special space for women on this campus and to let their friends know how very appreciated they are,” said Nolan. “We wanted to celebrate Anselmian women for the amazing things that they do, and to our excitement, we have received a great deal of positive feedback about the program.”

Female empowerment was only one of many RLC topics. “Body Positivity” focused on the neglect of healthy body images in college, while “Music and Health” focused on the impact of music on intellectual, mental, and spiritual growth and wellbeing. Additional RLCs included the exploration of community service and spirituality, general health and wellness, and managing stress and service.

Sue Weintraub, the director of Residential Life, is very proud that residential learning communities are part of the Saint Anselm experience. “The RLCs across campus show that learning does not have to be a passive thing,” explained Weintraub. “It can be right in your living room, and it can be learning that will last a lifetime while also giving back to your community.”

“These are issues that I hold very dear to my heart, which have only been affirmed by the positive experience that I have had with ‘You Go Girl’ for the past year,” said Nolan. “Beyond the context of Saint Anselm College, I hope that I will be able to work towards female empowerment and gender inequality through my career after graduation and beyond.”

For more information regarding residential learning communities and their application process, visit the Office of Residential Life and Education.