Sophomore students at Fairfield University usually have two distinct choices for housing options. They can choose a traditional suite-style building in “The Village” (Kostka Hall and Claver Hall) or they can apply to one of the Sophomore Residential College Programs: Service for Justice, Ignatian Leadership or Creative Life.
Residential Colleges are a unique housing option because they are marketed to students as a way for them to learn and live together in a community. In the programs, students are provided with a mentor and mentor group and are able to go on retreats throughout the year with their community.
Up until last year, each Residential College was housed in a different building in the quad. Service for Justice was in 70 McCormick Road, Creative Life was placed in Loyola Hall and Ignatian Leadership was in 42 Langguth Road.
As class sizes increased, and more space was needed for the incoming first-year students, the Creative Life program was moved from Loyola Hall to 70 McCormick Road, leaving just two buildings for the program.
But, for the Fall 2021 semester, the entire concept of the living and learning aspect of the Sophomore Residential Colleges is shifting entirely. No longer will students be restricted to living with those in their specific community. Now, any student in any of the Residential Colleges can choose between the two buildings utilized by the program: 42 Langguth Road or 70 McCormick Road.
The Sophomore Residential College program is being rebranded to the Ignatian Residential College Program, but now with three tracks: Leadership, Service for Justice and Creative Life.
Jonathan Horgan, the area coordinator of 42 Langguth Road, argued that this rebranding will benefit the students.
“Students will gain a more holistic experience through this program and come out with a wider/broader worldview and skill sets,” he said. “Students were notified throughout the application process regarding the changes being made to the tracks. Open office hours, webinars, resident assistant info sessions, social media postings, emails etc.”
When asked to clarify if students were told before they selected which program they wished to apply to, he simply stated, “Students were notified.”
Following a 2002 grant from the Lilly Foundation, the goal of the Sophomore Residential College Program was to “develop a dynamic model of education which, from a wide array of disciplines and perspectives, was able to cultivate a seamless learning environment which integrated the intellectual, affective, and spiritual dimensions of students’ lives.”
For nearly 20 years, it has allowed students to live and learn together as one. As Fairfield’s website states, the program is unique because it is a mix of “distinctively designed academic courses” with the “purposeful residential living experiences.”
Horgan stated that he doesn’t think the rebranding will affect the core living and learning aspect of the program.
“Students will have the class experience, mentor experience and residential experience in one of two halls designed for the program,” he explained.
“There are benefits to living within the same Res College community,” Former Creative Life resident Rebecca Ruyack ‘21 stated. “I chose Creative Life and lived in what was considered ‘the worst building’ because I wanted to live with other creative people. Living with people who share common interests builds comradery and friendships that I think would be lost with these changes.”
When asked if she thinks the switch will affect the community aspect, Ruyack said, “I don’t know if I would have had the same positive experience with the Res College program if there were multiple programs in the same building.”
Sophomore Carly Manzi, a current resident of 42 Languuth stated, “I liked the set up because it gave you an opportunity to live with people who had the same interests and mindset as you, and that’s a big part of the experience.” She also mentioned that the old system did cause some housing issues, as those who didn’t get into the program couldn’t live with their friends. “It would be nice that this allows the ability to do that so it’s more convenient for them, but I’m just glad that it wasn’t like this when I was applying,” said Manzi.
Horgan stated that students do have the option to accept or decline the position in the college through a GoogleForm. He also encourages students to reach out to them for a one-on-one meeting with any of their questions or concerns.
“Like any change, there will be growing pains,” Horgan said. “However, long term I do believe that these changes will help sophomore students even more by exposing them to tenets of all three tracks. Students will gain a more holistic experience through this rebranding change.”
If you are a current first-year student with strong opinions on the rebranding of the Sophomore Residential College Program and would like to write a letter to the editor, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.