OU Learning Community Builds Creative Connections

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Starting college can be a difficult transition for some freshmen. After all, meeting new people, taking college-level courses and living in a dorm can be stressful.

Ohio University is easing that shift by offering Learning Communities, a program in which over 2500 students participate.

This fall, the College of Fine Arts continues its own Residential Learning Community with nearly 100 new students, all living in Lincoln Hall.

Recently renovated, Lincoln provides studio spaces, a piano, dance floor and computers, providing access to the diverse majors within the College. The participating students meet each Friday in Lincoln for a required RLC course.

Freshmen are encouraged to integrate, as well as think critically and creatively about different ways to approach a topic.

"Students are allowed to experience the arts and the creative process…if you’re a graphic designer you’re also taking a classes with a theater student or an art student," said Jessica Law, RLC seminar instructor.

Law explained the objective of the class by touching on three different themes: Connect, Sustainability and Creative Process.

In-class and out-of-class activities are required for students to reflect on these themes. Out-of-class activities mostly touch on student’s ability to connect, requiring them to attend a certain number of fine arts events.

In-class assignments can consist of a variety of activities. For instance, students may work on a semester-long research project that studies contemporary artists whose work focuses on sustainability.

The students also engage in group activities, such as Brazilian group drumming.

"It’s a much more physical drumming. It’s very responsive and you can do it with a large group of people; it’s very interactive and fun," Law explained. "Some of the drums are not traditional; they’re made out of barrels. Again, pushing that notion of using recyclable materials for sustainable art projects."

More broadly, the RLC aims at introducing freshmen to the tight-knit fine arts community on campus. Law said that the social aspect of RLC is important for the students.

"It’s a really great way to meet people, especially for art. The people you're surrounded by are your greatest resource."