Come fall 2017, there will be a stronger sense of community among first-year students in the Honors Program. For the fall 2017-spring 2018 academic year, the fourth floor of Jogues will be an Honors Living and Learning Community.
“Our Fall 2017 launch of the Honors LLC will be the first Living and Learning Community complementing the Academic Honors Program,” said Assistant Director of Residence Life Meredith Smith.
According to Professor Giovanni Ruffini, co-director of the Honors Program, when he and Dr. Laura Nash, the other co-director of the program, were asked to direct the Honors Program, they were asked to foster a sense of community among the honors students.
“We naturally thought that a Living and Learning option for students in the program would be a great way to do that,” said Ruffini.
The future Resident Assistant of the floor and Honors Program member Natasha Seifried ‘19 is excited to help build a community among students in the program.
“Working with first-year students primarily focuses on inclusion and connection building. The Honors LLC is a great way to build a community and will allow the students to make connections with other students from different majors and also create a close knit and convenient support system,” said Seifried.
Ruffini added that the floor is only expected to remain in Jogues for the 2017-2018 school year and that it will transfer to the dorm currently being constructed behind Gonzaga.
Junior Izabella Guzzo expressed that the honors floor option is an easy way to bring incoming students together.
“The floor could help people become assimilated because it gives a community to those without one. Immediately everyone in the dorm would have something uniting them and bringing them together,” said Guzzo.
Sophomore Paulina Baclawska echoed Guzzo’s feelings toward the new community and wishes she had the option when she was an incoming first-year student.
“I would have loved to have a honors floor as a freshman because it would’ve helped me become close friends with people who I know I would have class with, also it would be easier to get homework help from people on my floor for my honors classes,” said Baclawska.
In addition to the new floor the directors are implementing a mentor/mentee program called the Big/Little program to further welcome new honors students.
“I was a part of the old mentor/mentee system my freshman year in the Honors Program, and it was a good way to make connections with someone who has been in your shoes before,” said Seifried. “I think shifting the program to a Big/Little relationship will eliminate any formalities and simply just create friendships.”
The Big/Little program will give first-year students the opportunity to foster a relationship with older members of the Honors Program.
“It will be good for freshman to have an older mentor to guide with classes and college life in general, the mentors will be another resource for the freshman to have,” said Baclawska.
Guzzo believes the Big/Little program will help first-year students transition and provide a sense of ease.
“I think the mentor/ mentee program is great because when you first start school that’s something you need — a person who has experienced what you’re going through and can offer you a sense of comfort in the process of adjusting to a new environment,” said Guzzo.