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Living together, learning together

Residential colleges and themed halls tailor the student experience

Contact: ​Jeff Johnston

​​​​Psychology major Emily Crombez gestures to the series of potted succulents sitting on her windowsill at Central Michigan University.

“This is a great place to grow,” she jests. It’s an inside joke she and her friends, who have adopted some of her plants, make about Larzelere Hall.

Crombez, a junior from Harper Woods, Michigan, resides in the Honors Program Residential Community, one of CMU’s living and learning communities that offers tailored opportunities based on academic and personal interests.

“Living and learning communities are a home base for growth and exploration,” Honors Program Director Phame Camarena said. “If you’re surrounded by others who are facing similar experiences and challenges, it gives you confidence.”

CMU offers six residential colleges that focus on academic interests — from health professions to music. Themed halls serve honors students, Leader Advancement Scholars, Multicultural Advancement and Lloyd Cofer Scholars, and transfer students. Learn more about CMU's living and learning communities.

This semester, 5,725 students live in CMU’s 22 residence halls. The halls offer student-serving amenities — ranging from fitness centers, study lounges, laundry facilities and residential restaurants — and on-site resources, including resident assistants, multicultural advisors, professional staff, community police officers, counselors-in-residence, academic advisors and student success coaches.

“When a student lives in a themed hall or a residential community, it changes their experience,” Camarena said. “We encourage them to be engaged with both academic and nonacademic endeavors.”

Residence Life  

Residential colleges and themed halls offer additional resources and opportunities. For example, the Health Professions Residential College provides a skeleton to help students succeed in anatomy courses. The Business Residential College brings in speakers from large corporations, such as Ford Motor Co. And, the School of Music Residential College provides on-site practice facilities and master classes with internationally acclaimed musicians.

"Living with people who have similar academic interests helps you out in terms of professional development and academic development. It definitely sets you up for academic success."​

 Emily Crombez, CM​U junior from Harper Woods, Michigan

The four floors of Larzelere Hall house honors students of all majors — from biology to broadcast and cinematic arts.

“What brings the students together in residential colleges and themed halls is a common commitment,” Camarena said. “They share some things in common like motivations and values. When you find that group, it just gives you permission to really be alive at the university.”

Last spring, nearly 90 percent of CMU students living in the residence halls said the experience contributed to their sense of belonging at CMU. Additionally, more than 80 percent said the experience contributed to their academic success and impacted their decision to return.

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