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Applying the Best Practices Model
The Best Practices Model should be used not only as a blueprint
for building a successful LLC program, but also as a continual guide
for strengthening already established programs.
the receiving end (Sue et al., 2007). Additionally, scholars have identified gaps in the
ability of PWIs to meet the needs of students of color effectively (McGee & Stovall,
2015). These experiences can lead to students of color feeling marginalized and less
connected to the campus community. However, an effective LLC can address the challenges
that have been identified in the literature by serving as a point of connection
for students of color who might otherwise feel isolated. It can also help White students
recognize their biases and work to eliminate the overt and subtle acts of racism
that occur on campuses. Ultimately, a racially diverse LLC can break down barriers
between racial groups by helping students develop meaningful relationships across
racial lines and by engaging students in critical conversations about race and racism
(both inside and outside the classroom).
To illustrate, the curriculum for the Realizing Dreams LLC specifically focuses on
race, class, and gender inequities, a lens that allows the LLC faculty to engage students
in readings and class discussions about the social forces that can divide us. At the beginning
of the fall semester, the LLC holds a retreat that focuses on building community,
developing leadership skills, and appreciating the value of diversity. Faculty and
students engage in community-building exercises with the goal of socializing students
from the beginning so that they can experience their community as a family embarking
on this first-year journey together. Community members may not always agree
with each other, but it is important to establish a foundation ensuring that students will
support each other. The retreat helps students to identify points of connection despite
differences in their backgrounds. LLC faculty also emphasize that the differences make
the community stronger and better equipped for success. One person's weakness is
another person's strength, and by working together everyone in the LLC can achieve
their goals.
Every year, each new cohort selects a motto that represents the community's
shared values, serves as a unifying mantra, and sets the tone for the year. As students
engage in academic material about race throughout the year, they also examine their
privilege and develop empathy for other people's experiences, which helps to maintain
the supportive foundation that was set at the retreat. At the beginning of class and
during the cocurricular activities, the faculty check in with the students to see how
they are doing, celebrate their accomplishments, and encourage them if they experience
setbacks. When there are problems within the group, the faculty have facilitated
conflict resolution sessions to help students process and mend the rift. In these sessions,
faculty intentionally talk with the students about racial dynamics as well as other
points of division within the group. These honest and ongoing conversations about
race, as well as the emphasis on the importance of community and respect, provide
students of color with the social support they might not otherwise receive at a PWI.
44 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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