One of Fairfield University’s most unique qualities is the option of Living and Learning communities.

These communities were created to provide great programs through residential halls. The Ignation Resdiential College, designed for sophomores, has offered a great experience to its participants. However, the key to the success of these communities is the enthusiasm of the participants.

In the past, students chose the Ignatian Residential College over living in the Village suites.  Plans to create more of these living and learning communities were announced in conjunction with construction plans of new residences on campus. But now, because these tight-knit community experiences will be offered in various locations, it is quite possible that students will chose which community to participate in based on the location.

Fairfield hopes students will embrace the idea of these living communities, but an overload may work against the University’s favor.

At some point, students’ motivation to join these communities will be primarily to secure preferable housing accommodations and secondarily for the community it offers. This could lead to a disinterest in the community, making the program less memorable for the students with the proper motivations.

While the multitude of communities will allow all interested sophomores to participate in a community, it will also divide the sophomore class into various buildings scattered across campus. Further, students involved in the communities will form relationships. Eventually, this will splinter the class causing division and competition between different communities.

But still options can be a good thing. Although the plans for the Just-Us residential college, which was set to open in the former Jesuit Residence, was moved to include part of Jogues, this offered an opportunity to students to gather with people with similar passions.

Also, it provides diversity, a key objective of the University. While before there were more limited options for communities, now interests such as environmental justice or creativity will be represented more fully on campus.

Fairfield is a Jesuit institution and living and learning communities are an important part of the Jesuit ideal of cura personalis.

Students are not only paying for an education in their chosen field, but a holistic education, incorporating the mind, body and soul. Fairfield has failed all students whose only achievement at graduation is a piece of paper and the promise of a job. Instead, the University should strive to impart not just academic knowledge, but the knowledge to live a full life. Living and learning communities are a strong step to achieving this goal.

While some students may be reluctant to join a living and learning community, fearing the stigma of joining a “God squad” or a place with no good parties, these communities are beneficial to everyone. Each student will get out of the community what they put in to it.

Cura personalis along with diverse ideas are crucial to a Jesuit education, both of which are espoused in living and learning communities. These communities will help make “Men and Women for Others.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.