New Black Living Learning community in Carpenter

Marquette+Wire+stock+photo.

Marquette Wire stock photo.

Starting in the fall 2021 semester, there will be a new Black Living Learning Community on campus. The LLC will consist of 20 first-year Black students who will apply for the community as part of their housing application. The community will be located on the 16th floor of Carpenter Tower.

“The community had been charged to increased recruitment, retention and success of Black students at Marquette,”  University President Michael Lovell said in his 7th, Presidential address. 

A living learning community is designed to bring students together around a common theme or major to bring their learning out of the classroom space,” Tracy Gerth-Antoniewicz, assistant director of residence life education, said in an email.

While the plans for the Black LLC have been in discussion for a while, the upcoming fall semester will be the first time that the community is available to Black students on campus. The implementation comes after the administration’s talks with Black Student Council back in September.

Living Learning Communities are special housing options that allow students to live with other students that have similar interests or are studying within the same academic discipline. 

“(In LLCs) Residence Life staff and faculty collaborate to find opportunities to program, continue discussions or supplement classroom learning on the floor, campus or in broader community opportunities such as attending speakers, visiting museums, attending plays, etc.,” Gerth-Antoniewicz said in an email.

The choice to put the new LLC on the 16th floor of Carpenter Tower was based on some of the amenities that Carpenter is able to offer.

The floor has doubles and singles, so we can accommodate different room requests and the number of rooms means a smaller, more tight-knit community. Each floor has a lounge to facilitate community connections,” Gerth-Antoniewicz, said in an email.

Carpenter also has private baths, which allows the LLC to be co-ed by door. In addition, Carpenter Tower is open all year round which would provide a space for residents to live during the break should they need it.

The new Black LLC will join a group of existing LLCs already on campus. In Eckstein Hall, there is the engineering community, which consists of about 90 students living on three different floors. 

There is a nursing LLC in Carpenter Tower made up of about 40 students. In Straz Tower there are two LLCs: one for students within the honors program and another for students within the Latino community, called “Nuestro Hogar,” which means “Our Home.”

Living Learning Communities are high impact programs that promote student success and whether it is language, community or social justice, these kinds of programs are important,” James McMahon, former vice president of student affairs, said back in 2014 when Nuestro Hogar first opened.

The new Black LLC will be named “Umoja: Black Living Learning Community.” In Swahili, Umoja means unity.

“A Living Learning Community is a space for students who have similar interests and are passionate about a variety of things to work towards them,” Andrea Garcia, a Marquette alum and former resident assistant for Nuestro Hogar, said in a We Are Marquette podcast episode.

LLCs offer more than just a place for students with similar interests to connect. It also has many academic benefits as well.

Beyond unique experiences and living with others who have common goals or passion areas, student who live in Living Learning Communities have a deeper sense of learning around content, higher faculty contact, generally report higher GPAs and are more likely to graduate,” Gerth-Antoniewicz said in an email.

The new LLC will be fully implemented next semester and will officially become the fifth LLC at Marquette. 

This story was written by Megan Woolard. She can be reached at megan.woolard@marquette.edu