Written for The Argo by Darius W. Edwards
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when hearing the letters, T.L.C.? Tender, Love, and Care? Or the hit ’90s R&B girl group with members T-Boz, Left-Eye, and Chilli? This fall, the Office of Residential Life says it hopes to add a third thought to Stockton students’ repertoire; Themed Living Communities.
Traditionally, Themed Living Communities, or “T.L.C.s,” would allow first-year residential students to live alongside like-minded peers, but because of COVID-19, the program needed to implement something new. Created with “identity and increased engagement” in mind, the 2020 “T.L.C.s” strive to provide students who share common social interests, academic goals, or lifestyles to participate in (mostly virtual) experiences that support personal and professional growth. For 2020, there are seven themes for these communities, built as “houses” as an ode to the Black and Brown, Queer and Trans ballroom culture.
“We have seven houses that cover almost everything a student embodies,” says Kierre Fenderson, Residential Assistant in the House of Expressions, the Arts and Culture House. “Everyone has a home and can even, figuratively, spend the night at another house.”
However, with this year’s system, the program has used its virtual presence to expand by not only welcoming freshmen but also upper-level students and commuters to its activities. Students can even opt into multiple Houses if they choose.
This year features the following Houses:
- House of Mosaic (intercultural diversity + inclusion)
- House of S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and math)
- House of Lavender (LGBTQ+)
- House of Expressions (arts + culture)
- House of B.E.A.L. (business, entrepreneurship, and leadership)
- House of First Ospreys (first-generation college students)
- House of T.R.U.S.T. (Teaching Respecting Understanding & Supporting Transfers)
With the implementation of university and community fellows, each House has a dedicated set of departments and organizations in place to support them. These fellows align with the House’s theme; for example, the club fellow of the House of Mosaic is Los Latinos Unidos. The office fellow for the House of Lavender is the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Center. The community fellow for the House of B.E.A.L. is the Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce.
Fellows will offer programming, resources, and services to participants and potential employment, internship, and volunteer opportunities.
Themed Living Communities outlines its goals for students as creating connections, identifying their tribes, and making Stockton a home whether or not the student lives on campus. With the limitations COVID-19, Themed Living Communities offers an alternative to traditional programming, interaction, dining, and community building.
“Students should join a T.L.C. to be among peers with similar aspirations and goals, individuals that dream big with the same mindset,” says Residential Assistant in the House of S.T.E.M., Elise Luague. “T.L.C.s are an excellent opportunity to create new connections and a new family away from home.”
To learn more about Themed Living Communities, follow @tlcsu on Instagram, visit linktr.ee/tlcsu to register for a House, or contact the facilitator, Darius W. Edwards, Coordinator for Inclusive Communities + Social Justice Education.