Residence Life launches sustainability, well-being pilot program

Two Black York University students walking on the Keele Campus

Over the 2023-24 academic year, York University’s Residence Life Department is piloting two Living Learning Communities (LLCs), communities of residents who are interested in engaging in learning outside the classroom around a specific topic or theme. This year’s LLCs will seek to engage residents in a series of educational opportunities to deepen their understanding of sustainability and well-being.

In addition to the social and educational programming all residents are invited to partake in, LLC residents (selected based on interest indicated through their housing application and a series of questions to determine candidacy) participate in a sequenced set of learning opportunities tied to the community theme or topic.

The sustainability LLC, housed in Founders Residence, will engage 35 residents in a series of workshops, events and dialogues with the aim that all participants will be able to act upon principles of sustainability. The well-being LLC, in Bethune Residence, will foster 35 residents’ abilities to engage in behaviours that contribute to their mental, spiritual, sexual, emotional and physical health.

Over the course of the next eight months, LLC participants will have the opportunity to engage in two educational programs, workshops or events per month tailored to support them with their respective LLC’s learning outcome.

Additionally, participants will engage in three reflective activities over the course of the year to solidify their learning and reflection throughout their experience in the program.

Each community has a work-study Living Learning Community leader to foster connection, facilitate peer programming and engage in intentional one-on-one conversations to support participants in achieving their respective goals for the LLC program.

“I wanted to get involved with the Living Learning Community at York because it’s a great way to practice immersive learning, in the sense that we get to constantly be at one with a community that shares similar values and is constantly striving to learn and grow from their surroundings,” shares Ramisa Mustafa, student leader for the sustainability LLC. “I believe it’ll not only help me engage more with York, but also help me grow as an individual and allow more room for holistic knowledge acquisition.”

Melanie Sit, student leader for the well-being LLC, adds, “I originally was interested in becoming a don, but the application to be an LLC piqued my interests, as I enjoy learning about the topic of well-being and I had some experience with it in high school. I also love planning and running different activities and events that bring joy to other people.”

In April, the sustainability LLC pilot project was one of four applications awarded funding through the Sustainability Innovation Fund, which will support the sustainability LLC in fostering student leaders equipped to role model sustainable behaviours and foster a more sustainable culture across the York University community.

Mustafa notes, “Ultimately, experiencing a sense of community helps people hold themselves accountable for their actions and decisions, academics and a lot more, which I believe is important while living alone. These students who participate in the Living Learning Community will most likely have a more fulfilling experience at York because of the values and knowledge base they’ll have exposure to. This will help them step out as more socially aware individuals at the end of the program.”

The sustainability and well-being LLCs formally launched Sept. 6 with a welcome and orientation event for each community. Applications for the 2024-25 academic year will open in February 2024 as part of the housing application process for students.