Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2 - 12

How Interactions Contribute to Thriving
LLCs are distinct, structured environments that offer
a place where academic, social, and deeper life interactions
with faculty, staff, and peers can occur all in one place.
(LLC). In these spaces, students' " propinquity to one another in their residence hall,
classroom environment, and cocurricular activities [makes] serendipitous interactions
more common " (Inkelas et al., 2018, p. 57).
Individual campus policies often influence the living decisions of first-year and
upper-division students. These policies vary widely depending on the institution, where
some have a first-year live-on requirement, some have no requirement for residency,
and others have a four-year requirement to keep students engaged in a residence hall
until they graduate. Further, some institutions have moved to a two-year requirement,
where students stay in residence halls until their junior year. Such policies play a role
in students' LLC participation. Students on campuses with more flexible housing arrangements
have more choices regarding living and therefore have more choices regarding
LLC involvement. Nonetheless, many LLCs are designed as academic housing
initiatives geared toward first-year students.
The vast majority of LLCs represented among the approximately 600 communities
in the National Study of Living-Learning Programs (NSLLP) focused on first-year
students (Inkelas et al., 2018). Considering classification, that sample comprised more
than 71% first-year residents (Inkelas et al., 2007). This is a common trend, as interventions
to support students during their initial year of college are essential to combat
departure and promote success (Kuh et al., 2010). The emphasis to study first-year
students has also unintentionally led to fewer studies on returning students. However,
the " increased pressure and decreased support " (Schreiner et al., 2012, p. 111) many
students face after their first year is an issue that various departments across campus
can and should address. One way to concentrate effort in this area is to focus on opportunities
for upper-division student interaction with faculty, staff, and peers.
Schreiner (2009), in a study on student satisfaction and retention, found that
faculty availability outside of the classroom can increase the odds of juniors returning
for their senior year. Further, she posits that " availability to engage in academic
discussions that extend learning outside of class can contribute to juniors' intellectual
growth and satisfaction with their experiences " (p. 8). Peer interaction is equally
important for students beyond their first year. Dumford and colleagues (2019) found
that seniors report high levels of peer belonging, and students who go through the
college experience together are more likely to bond with one another. However, as
many upper-division students who remain living on campus are given increasing opportunities
to reside in suite-style spaces, creating these bonds presents a challenge;
further, such a " push for increased privacy can often undermine the development of
community " (Gahagan & Hunter, 2010, p. 193) for these upper-division students. The
types of programs often present in LLCs, such as peer study groups, mentoring programs,
or cultural experiences, can provide opportunities for these interactions and
help resulting peer relationships to flourish (Inkelas et al., 2018).
12 The Journal of College and University Student Housing

Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2

Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2 - intro
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