When August rolls around, get ready for the familiar sight of a new freshman class on move-in day. As students from across the state, country, and overseas settle into their apartments, meet their roommates for the first time, and become acclimated to the campus and city, some will find themselves asking the question, “What do I do now?”

Students-Housing_06One group of housing students has a unique answer.

In its inaugural year, the Themed Learning Communities (TLC) at UTC will bring students together in a residential setting to foster leadership abilities and to help students integrate more fully into the UTC community.

According to Timothy Johnson, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Housing and Residence Life, the program was created to more fully immerse and engage incoming students into the University culture.

“The Themed Learning Communities are designed to help students connect more quickly with the campus community, make deep connections with students who share common interests, and build a stronger connection to the University community at large as well as encouraging personal growth. Each community offers a unique experience which builds on one or more of the University’s core values of Preparing for the Future, Education and Engagement, and Positive Institutional Environment,” said Johnson.

In its first year, the program will offer six communities; LEAD (Learn! Experience! Achieve! Do!), Business Living Learning Community (LLC), Healthy Mocs LLC, WAVE (Women Asserting Voices & Empowerment), WILD (Wilderness Leadership Institute), and Go Global (UTC’s International Community). Students enrolled in the program will be housed together, and throughout the year will take part in activities, on and off campus, as well as have access to a network of community members, peer mentors, instructors, and residence hall staff.

Kathrin Brewer, nursing student, Senior Resident Assistant, and head of LEAD, is quick to point out the benefit of being involved in such an environment.

“The skills that you gain from this type of leadership institution teach you everything from simply how to be a better person, how to stay organized, and how to make smart, socially conscious decisions,” said Brewer.

Brewer, who has also taken part in LeaderShape and Lead UTC, recognizes the opportunity to extend the advantages gained from those types of programs across the entire school year and to a broader range of students.

“It’s a great opportunity for the University to build a sense of community and to develop fine character in its students.”

By Zach Taylor, University Relations Student Writer

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