About Living & Learning Communities

Our Mission
Living & Learning Communities offer students a unique residential experience for focused exploration, action, reflection and the education of others on an issue in society.

What is a Living & Learning Community?
A Living & Learning community is a group of 4 to 8 students living together to develop an in-depth understanding of in issue in society. The Living and Learning Communities program is based upon the idea that a meaningful learning experience in the liberal arts involves critical thinking, practical experience, reflection and application of new ideas, and the education of others. Members of each community are expected to create, implement, and evaluate a year-long structured learning experience.

"Our group has been able to have an impact on the lives of children who are faced with disabilities...It's a great feeling to know that as one person each of us can make a difference."

Amber Gerth '07
NEIGH: Neighbors Enthusiastically Inspire Growth and Hope

Goals for Living & Learning Communities
  • Exploration of a topic in-depth through peer-to-peer learning and the faculty/staff advising relationship
  • Action plan to address issues and concerns that arise from researching the group's topic and applying this knowledge to a service-learning project.
  • Reflection of experiences and integrating lessons learned into future research and action.
  • Educating others about the group's topic by presenting major issues, sharing personal experiences, and suggesting opportunities for individual and collective action.

Program History

Living & Learning Communities at Cornell began in the fall of 2001 and opened in the newly renovated Merner residence hall. In its inaugural year, more than 150 students in 21 groups participated. The first living and learning communities engaged in a wide variety of activities including community beautification through original art, raising cultural awareness, mentoring boys and girls in the community, tutoring and fundraising for charitable causes.

Today's students continue the tradition of excellence by serving as advocates on women's issues, mentoring and tutoring under-privileged youth, as well as donating handmade crocheted items.