Creating residential communities that facilitate engaged learning for all students.
The Residential Living Office (RLO) creates “a home away from home” for Drexel’s residential students. While living on campus, students will learn the value of living in a diverse community, engage with their peers, gain a greater sense of self-awareness, and form a better connection to the Drexel campus. The strength of the RLO program is in its ability to help Drexel students find success on campus, both inside and outside of the classroom. RLO strives to establish innovative and creative ways to cultivate residential communities to assist the students in achieving these goals.
Drexel’s on-campus residential communities span every level of the institution, from first year students through those in graduate school. RLO ensures that each residential community meets the developmental needs of its specific population.
For first-year communities, students receive support as they transition into college. Through intentional events such as building-wide dinners and floor trips into the city, first-year students begin to feel connected to the campus and Philadelphia. Each first-year residential student also has the opportunity to join their building hall council and gain valuable leadership skills.
Upperclass residential communities assist students as they transition into co-op and a more demanding academic schedule, providing students with the skills necessary to not only find success at Drexel, but in the years beyond college. The Creating Opportunities for Residential Engagement (CORE) program allows upper-class residential students to apply for funding for educational and social programs that support the RLO values of community, inclusion, citizenship and learning.
Graduate student communities provide a home where students can find supportive environments that lead to academic success, while concurrently helping these students find a connection to the larger campus community.
A common theme throughout all Drexel residential communities is a commitment to connecting community development with Civic and Academic Engagement. In order to create an atmosphere of service and introduce residential students into their Philadelphia home beyond Drexel, RLO and the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement partnered to establish nine community sites that were linked directly to each of the residential communities. The partnership connected residence hall staff and students to a specific Drexel Community Scholar at the Lindy Center in order to increase participation of volunteer opportunities at local West Philadelphia sites. The partnership resulted in successfully connecting Drexel residential students with community sites such as the Mantua Community Center, the Lombard Soup Kitchen, and Philabundance.
Academic Engagement also remained at the forefront of each residential community. College Learning Communities (CLCs) successfully integrate academics into the residential experience of participating students. CLC residents continue to cite their ability to develop both socially and academically as a key benefit of their learning community experience. However, in addition to the CLCs, RLO also integrates academic and faculty involvement for all residential populations. Faculty members participate in regular dinner series’, in addition to hosting lectures and small discussion groups within the residence halls. These activities and events allowed Drexel’s residential students to connect with faculty and staff outside of the classroom, seamlessly connecting all aspects of their Drexel collegiate experience.
Each residence hall is managed by a Resident Director, who is a master’s-level professional with experience in creating residential communities and counseling students. Resident Assistants (RAs) are undergraduate and graduate students who act as mentors and community builders for the residents they serve. Each residence hall front desk is staffed by a Residential Desk Coordinator, providing safety and support.