Housing set to make Sunwatcher a lifelong learning center

Taylor Robinson

Starting fall 2018, Sunwatcher Building 8 will be a new lifelong learning center, adding to the other two centers in Legacy and McCullough-Trigg halls.

The lifelong learning center is aimed to make students’ experiences in the classroom rewarding. Students who participate in the learning community are housed together with connection to faculty, staff and programs specifically targeted to the areas interest them.

National research shows students in learning community center develop academic and social support systems more quickly compared to other students. Also connect more often with faculty and staff outside of the classroom and participate more deeply with their areas of study as a result of participating in study groups with other learning community center members.

Students who want to be in a lifelong learning center may choose from communities linked to academic and themed interests.

Academic interest groups connect students interested in a common major or area of study. These communities are associated with university programs or majors and encourage collective work in and outside of the classroom.

Themed interest groups provide opportunities for students with common interests to live together and go after those interests through organized programs and activities. Themed interest groups have no academic or major requirements.

Norma Ramirez, assistant director of residence life, said, “We believe there are many paths to student success. Lifelong learning centers are one way to enhance your experience inside and outside of the classroom. [They are] also an excellent way to make friends and enhance your academic success.”

Since this project is fairly fresh and still developing, most students, faculty or staff don’t know about it yet. The staff of the office of residence life said the school is adding a new center; however, couldn’t give full details about how the school is going about setting up the center in Sunwatcher and the plans of development.

Two lifelong learning centers are in the Legacy and McCullough-Trigg halls.

The communities in Legacy offer fields for first generation, business, PLUGGED-IN (pre nursing) and wellness & recreation.

The communities in McCullough-Trigg hall offer fields for the Redwine Honors Program, transfer students and members of the program Scholarship Opportunities for Academic Recognition. To get in this program, students have to fill out an application for the field they want to be in on the housing website.

Since the new lifelong learning center will be in Sunwatcher Building 8, people who are living there will have to find a new place to live starting next semester. To some people, this may seem like a difficult task to move all your belongings out when you already have a place to live. Therefore, these residents get first choice for room selection since they are being inconvenienced.

Mallory Ledoux, social work and Spanish sophomore and resident assistant for Sunwatcher Building 5, said she doesn’t see the housing changes having much affect. Ledoux believes it might be harder for residents who don’t live in the apartments trying to get in.

Jovane Parkinson, sports and leisure junior, said he believes adding another lifelong learning center is great.

“Adding another center will be good for the school, hopefully bringing more people in,” Parkinson said.

Parkinson lives in Sunwatcher Building 2 and plans on staying in the apartment complex. He said the displaced students shouldn’t affect his ability to get back in the same apartment.

“I think it’s fair for the residents living in building eight to get first room choice since they have to take all of their stuff and move to another apartment building.” Parkinson said.

Jaydon Cuningan, criminal justice sophomore, is a student living in Sunwatcher Building 8. He said he doesn’t care about having to move out next semester.

“I don’t like moving, but if they’re trying to improve the school by adding the community, then I guess I don’t mind. At first, I thought I would have a hard time getting back in the Sunwatcher, but now I know I have first pick. It’s all good,” Cuningan said.

CORRECTIONS: In a previous version of this story, lifelong learning centers were referred to as community learning centers. The Wichitan regrets this error.