Scripps Re-evaluates its Living Learning Communities in the Midst of Housing Stress

AJ Jolish ’25
Staff Writer

For the 2023-24 school year, Residential Life will be reducing the number of Living Learning Communities (LLCs) for the first time since their introduction in the fall of 2015. In the 2022-23 academic year, ResLife offered the Language halls (Spanish, French, German, Italian), the Science & Technology hall, the Green (environmental sustainability) hall, and the Wellness hall. Next year, this list shrinks to just the Language halls and the Wellness hall.

Carmen Brown, Interim Assistant Dean and Director of Campus Life, explained that the LLCs absent in the 2023-24 academic year are not permanently canceled. “We are pausing a few of the LLCs to allow for a full review of offerings,” she explained. “Wellness is the only community that has an increased interest and the highest participation.”

Participation in hall events is at the core of the LLC program, and the implication that the halls being reconsidered next year had lacked robust enthusiasm was surprising to some students who had been interested in living in them next year. Anna Ravid ’25 had been planning to apply for the STEM hall.

“I liked the idea of living with people who study the same things I do,” Ravid said. “It would be fun to have that built-in connection with my neighbors, and maybe even be able to work together and help each other with our classes. I was sad to learn the hall isn’t going to be offered at all next year.”

According to Interim Assistant Dean Brown, “The primary goal of Scripps College Living Learning Communities is to increase student engagement outside of the classroom in ways that expand learning opportunities, strengthen community and bridge students’ curricular and co-curricular experiences.” Despite this, the LLCs have been finding themselves split between the “living” and the “community” aspects. With the very real fear of not being able to live on-campus, some students seek out LLCs that they’d tolerate instead of adore.

The tension between LLCs as providers of sought-after rooms instead of providers of community is rumored to be a reason for the program’s impending downsize. Nina Howe-Goldstein ’25 chose to apply to the Wellness hall due to worries of being placed off-campus.

“I was a sophomore with a bad housing registration time,” she said. “It boils down to the universal Scripps student desire to get on-campus housing, especially a single. It’s like with PERMS — when you’re emailing to get a PERM into a G.E., you bullshit.”

It’s hard to overemphasize the fear of being off-campus, especially after last year where many current sophomores were shocked by off-campus placements without their consent. Audrey Scott ’25, who was placed in Claremont Collegiate Apartments, said that “CCA may not be too far away, but it’s enough to lose the sense of culture and community that was one of the reasons I chose Scripps. I was disappointed that the school has not made more of an effort to acknowledge or address the grievances and problems people here have, such as a difficulty getting to and from campus with only a shuttle that goes once an hour.”

Despite the desperation for on-campus housing, many students who chose LLCs were primarily motivated by lifestyle reasons. Athena Lewin ’25 lived in Revelle House for the 2021-22 year and is currently living in the Wellness hall.

“As much as I enjoyed the social aspect of [drinking and partying], I was like ‘you know what, that’s not going to be a big part of my college experience,’” Lewin said. “So I knew I didn’t mind being substance free, and the idea of living with people who were going to be focused on mindfulness and healthy living really appealed to me.”

The STEM, Green, and student-suggested queer/trans hall, will all be evaluated next year. Until the 2024-2025 school year, prospective applicants, no matter their contentions, will have to live without them.

Image Source: Scripps College