Learning community offers various programs, courses

Jodi Abazoski and Jodi Abazoski

Joining a residential learning community isn’t only about living and connecting with other students who share similar interests.

Many of the residential learning communities also require their students to take a one-credit course that requires active participation outside of the classroom, RESC 2000.

The course is designed to “build community, empower students and get them involved,” said Gordon Ricketts, director of the Arts Village, located in Kreischer Compton.

Ricketts said students in his course are able to choose the way they want to get involved.

“It could be going to a concert, a workshop, a trip or it could be volunteering,” he said.

In RESC A, which is specifically for Arts Village students, the importance of what students are doing for the course is weighed and points are accumulated throughout the semester.

Richard Sanders is an Arts Village alumnus who felt compelled during his time in the community to help get other students involved with volunteering at the Wood County Humane Center.

Sanders began the animal shelter program for the class in 2011, but students are still able to participate if they want to, Ricketts said.

“I was the student leader for [the animal shelter project] when I was in the Arts Village,” Sanders said. “I would take other students there on Saturdays and do things like cleaning up the cat cages and walking the dogs.”

Sanders’ passion for the project was obvious.

“His heart really made that program,” Ricketts said.

Sanders said his time spent at the animal shelter helped empower him in the way the course is supposed to.

“It impacted me in a good way and matured me,” he said. “Like I had never seen a three-legged cat before that, and taking care of an animal like that was really heartwarming.”

The RESC course for other communities may be set up differently than at the Arts Village course, but the goal of learning through involvement is the same.

The 200 students in the Chapman Learning Community have the option of taking 11 different RESC classes, said senior Steve Herman, who is currently interning for Chapman director, Madeline Duntley.

Herman also lived in the Chapman Learning Community as a freshman.

Each course is based on volunteer work outside of the classroom where students meet every other week and partner with organizations like the Red Cross.

This semester Duntley teaches the course working with The United Way so that is the one Herman is most familiar with.

“I helped out a lot with a carnival we recently did to raise money for the United Way,” Herman said. “That whole class was basically just event planning, with students being involved with everything from selling tickets to making posters to setting up the actual event.”

The RESC courses could change for students each semester if they want to, Herman said.

“The whole thing is just really important for students so they know that there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer and help out,” he said.