Residents in Community

Students painting a canvas together
Students painting a community canvas

When students come to college, they are prepared to do a lot of learning in their classrooms, studios, labs, and even on athletic fields and stages. However, not many of them consider that life in their residence halls contains a lot of opportunities to learn as well.

Denison’s approach to residential life very intentionally creates memorable moments. The college recognizes that students are always learning — in the classrooms, during activities, and even in their dining halls and rooms, as they hold conversations, build friendships, and gain understanding of what the world looks like from another point of view.

Students and residential staff work to build authentic communities that encompass a wide range of perspectives and needs. Students have autonomy and responsibility, as well as support in that process. We learn by doing, trial and error, failure and triumph. Residential communities are a laboratory for life.

We learn by doing, trial and error, failure and triumph. Residential communities are a laboratory for life.

Resident assistants, in addition to providing pre-designed programming, give a lot of support to student-driven opportunities to get to know more people. Some offerings can include wellness-yoga in student lounges or cooking lessons in the apartment communities.

Residential spaces that are fun and interesting anchor a student’s education. These are places where students feel valued and respected, and where residents feel a sense of ownership and investment in their environment and what happens there.

The lessons learned here are brought forward into post-graduation situations. Alumni report that their experiences in this area of learning positively impacted their success. The bottom line is that we are working to build a community based in shared values, that meets the needs of people with a wide range of needs, interests, and concerns.

August 15, 2017