Students, alumni and faculty from various learning communities gathered at NextGen Forum on Thursday night for “LC Talks: MY LC STORY,” a TED Talk-inspired event where pre-selected students and staff shared their learning community experiences.
The program began with a video showcasing various testimonials of learning community students. Some students mentioned how UConn is one of the only schools in New England to offer certain opportunities, such as a human rights institute, while other students liked how their learning community allowed them to connect with students with similar interests.
Following this, the first speaker of the night was Dr. Steven Zinn, the faculty director for the Animal Science Learning Community. His talk, entitled “FYE: How an Aging Professor Stays in Touch,” discussed his journey through the First Year Experience course he has taught for the past 20 years and how it has helped change his perspective of students, and teaching as a whole.
The next speaker was second-semester physiology and neurobiology major Andry Evangelista. His talk, “Erasing the Lines of Introvert & Extrovert,” followed his journey of discovering his passions and coming out of his shell as he entered college. He discussed how joining Public Health House has helped him become more extroverted and get more involved.
“My learning community helped me adjust to college life by knocking me down a step and keeping me level-headed instead of succumbing to all the freedom that you get from when you first step onto campus,” Evangelista said.
After this, second-semester political science major Shelby Houghton shared her story about being in Leadership House, how she’s tried to become as involved as possible and how being in a learning community helped her feel more at home. Next, eighth-semester physiology and neurobiology major Ciera Hunter gave her speech on the amount of change she went through over the past four years. At the center of her story was WiMSE House and how it has helped her become an RA.
The final speaker was second-semester allied health major Alexa Sanson. She explained how at the beginning of the fall semester there was a “Survivor” inspired challenge which allowed her to establish a group of friends on campus, and how the challenge itself reflected upon much of the obstacles faced throughout college.
“Everyone I’ve talked to who is in a learning community has loved it, and the people who aren’t sometimes have trouble talking to other people on their floor. I think it supports you in every way possible.” Sanson said.
After the speakers finished, students were invited to take a survey and share their own experiences within their learning communities. The discussion was opened to the crowd where other students could stand up and share their own story or favorite memory as a member of their learning community.
“Coming to this learning community helped make the really big school smaller,” Sanson said. “Being put into such an accepting community helped me feel comfortable and then grow even more.”
Brandon Barzola is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.