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About Living & Learning Communities and Expectations

The mission of the Living Learning Communities (LLCs) is to offer a unique residential experience for groups of up to eight students who develop an in-depth understanding of a societal issue, hobby, or interest that they are passionate about. In addition to living together, members of these communities collaborate with each other, many Cornell departments, and the surrounding towns and cities through community service. Also, students connect with a faculty/staff advisor to create, implement, and evaluate a year-long learning experience that is focused on exploration, action, reflection, and the education of others.

Program History

The first LLCs & Theme Housing at Cornell College 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. These 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.

Currently housed in Smith Hall and some of our surrounding houses and apartments, today's students continue the tradition of excellence in the LLC program by serving as advocates on women's issues, working to raise awareness and understanding regarding personal identity and expression, teaching others how to live healthy and more environmentally friendly, and much more. 

Goals and Methods

The LLC program aims to achieve four goals.

  • Exploration of a topic through personal efforts, 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.

To achieve these goals, the program educates students using the following methods.

Issue Orientation: Each LLC will place an emphasis on address specific issues within society. Individual members of each community are expected to be active participants in the intellectual, emotional, and interpersonal discourse involved with program participation.

Peer Development & Education: LLC members will explore in-depth learning through educating the campus community and facilitating the LLC action plan 

Service-Learning & Community Engagement: Within the LLC's action plan, members will engage in service learning and/or community engagement efforts. Through these efforts to provide a chance for deeper understanding of how service impacts the community and how that experience influences self-perceptions and the college experience as a whole.

The service-learning component should have clearly identified learning goals as part of the overall learning experience. These goals should be evaluated on a regular basis in collaboration with the faculty or staff advisor to determine how effective the service activity is in furthering the understanding of the community’s issue as well as to refine the service to meet the community’s overall learning goals. The Civic Engagement Office can assist groups in identifying local agencies and developing achievable service goals.

Charters focused solely on completing service projects will not be selected as a LLC. Service projects and community engagement should be an integrated part of the LLC Charter, but should not be the primary emphasis of the LLC.

Assessment: LLCs will reflect on the LLC experience and community engagement efforts by the advisor, group and individual members.


Recruitment & Membership

LLCs are responsible for the recruitment and selection of their own members. It is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure the LLC is filled to capacity throughout the academic year. The LLC Chair must contact the Coordinator of LLCs if vacancies can not be filled. 

In order to be a member of an LLC you must be in Good Standing, which the requirements are below.

  • Must have a minimum GPA of 2.0

  • Be in good standing with the college including social, academic, and financial areas

  • Must abide by all college policies outlined in the Compass and Residence Life policies

  • In addition, returning members must have been an active participant within the LLC the year prior

Member Commitments

Members of each LLC are expected to participate in all the activities outlined in their Charter. Participation in the LLC program also includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Participate in a Fall and Spring Kick-off event, and any other special programs organized by the Living and Learning Council
  • Participate in all activities and satisfy all requirements stated in your community’s charter
  • Meet with your entire community at least once per block to reflect, plan and address issues
  • Meet with your community’s faculty/staff advisor as an entire group at least once a semester
  • Meet as a group and individually with the Coordinator of Living & Learning Communities once each semester
  • Submission of a periodic reflection assignment outlining what the individual has learned during the blocks, how the group has utilized their advisor as part of their learning experience, and what plans are in place for the following block(s)
  • Assist in the planning, development and presentation of content for Block 2 “LLC Expo”
  • Participate in on-going service opportunities throughout the year that relate to your communities focus area
  • Taking part in research initiatives to assess the program’s effectiveness

Individuals or groups who fail to meet program requirements will be formally warned by the Coordinator of LLC and placed on individual or LLC Probation. Probation may result in reassignment of individuals or an entire group to other available spaces on campus. Individuals may be barred from returning to an LLC the following year. Additionally, an LLC's access to the allocation of funds may be reduced or restricted. 

Composition of an LLC

Chair:  This individual is responsible for the internal maintenance of the LLC within its house or apartment. They submit all charter-related materials and other program information. They work closely with their RA or Apartment House Manger and Coordinator of LLCs to meet the needs of their members such as building or house maintenance issues, roommate conflicts, questions about the program, etc. They work with their faculty/staff advisor to complete their charter goals. They may submit budget requests or coordinate fundraising efforts. The Chair may delegate tasks to other members as the LLC sees appropriate.

Rep: This individual is responsible for the external coordination between the LLC and outside entities such as other Cornell departments and student organizations. The Rep will commit to the LLC Council meetings occurring at least once a Block.

Member: A general member helps the Chair and Rep as needed. Additional positions can be defined within the LLC such as Treasurer, Public Relations, Programmer, etc. The Office of Residence Life only formally requires a defined Chair and Rep.

Faculty/Staff Advisor: The community must have a faculty or staff advisor who is committed to playing a key role in the learning experience of the group.

Living in an LLC

Current LLC Halls, Houses, and Apartments

LLC Council

At least once a Block, all LLCs will send their Representative, or designated alternate, to a LLC-wide meeting to discuss program topics, questions, receive news from the College, and coordinate efforts such as the LLC Expo or larger community service.

Housing Selection

Housing will be primarily in Smith Hall. A pair of surrounding houses are also used for legacy groups. Each Community is responsible for filling every space allotted to their group with a member of their Community prior to the start of the general housing selection process. Smith Hall suite's maximum occupancy is 8 residents, except for the RA suite which is 7. Smith Hall does not offer single rooms. Once the Declaration of Acceptance & Housing Preference Form is submitted, members of an LLC are removed from the year's remaining housing lotteries and are not allowed to participate in any remaining housing selection processes. 


All LLC members are expected to adhere to all college policies. Any LLC harboring concerns about a member committing violations has the recourse to report this behavior to Residence Life for assistance, including the potential removal of a member from the LLC.  

If an LLC loses a member at any point during the year after submitting their official roster, the group will be granted the privilege to first fill the space with a member they select within a two week grace period after the vacancy occurs. All  proposed new members must be approved by the Coordinator of Living & Learning Communities prior to the student moving in. After the 2 week grace period, the vacant space can be assigned at the discretion of Residence Life if the student is eligible per the College residency requirement and Residence Life policies.  

If an LLC has less than 4 members living in the suite/house during anytime of the year, the LLC can be declared defunct and Residence Life may convert it to regular housing. 

Residence Life reserves the right to assign a student to a vacant LLC space without prior notification.  Attempts to contact group members in advance will be made whenever possible.  When discussing vacant LLC spaces with interested students Residence Life will generally communicate the commitment of each LLC. Furthermore, when possible Residence Life will encourage prospective students to inquire directly with the LLC they are interested in in advance of a room in order to encourage a positive fit.  Residence Life will also encourage prospective students to participate in the LLC's selection process, but cannot guarantee enforcement of the LLC selection process if the two week grace period has ended. 

Custodial Coverage

The College provides custodial services for the public areas of Smith including hallways, lounges, and kitchens on a daily basis Monday through Friday. Limited weekend services are also provided. Areas within sleeping rooms and suites are considered private and are the responsibility of the resident(s) to clean. All residents of a floor/house/hall are billed for damages or extra cleaning. Please review Residence Life policies. 

In College owned houses and apartments, common areas such as kitchens, lounges, stairwells and bathrooms, are cleaned during winter break. All other spaces in houses are the responsibility of the occupants. Over the summer, a more extensive cleaning will take place in all areas of the houses and apartments. Any items left in the these areas at the beginning of the summer will be discard.

Unavailability of Summer Storage

LLC buildings summer storage is unavailable due to factors such as the cleaning schedule, camps, conferences, and a history of difficulty regarding policy compliance. All personal items that are not owned by the LLC must be taken home just as in a traditional residence hall room. No items deemed a personal item may be left behind and may be subject to disposal at the College's discretion. No restitution will be owed to any personal student item disposed of over the summer.

The College assumes no responsibility for the condition of items left by students, done so in violation of the above no summer storage policy. Kitchen items such as pots, plates, silverware, and other kitchen cookware or appliances can be stored in totes or containers so that all cabinets can be cleaned for the next year's residents. Food items (both perishable and nonperishable) and personal items of any kind will be discarded.