What is a Living Learning Community?

Your experience at the University of Southern Maine is about preparing you academically for your future, but it’s also about the people you meet here and the experiences you have with them inside and outside the classroom. At USM, we assign all first-year residential students to a Living Learning Community (LLC), rather than having students select a specific residence hall. Your LLC assignment is based on a 1-credit experiential learning class that you choose with your Academic Advisor during your initial Advising and Course Selection (ACS) meeting. Our LLCs are not connected to specific academic majors; rather, you can choose the one that best fits your schedule or interests. These 1-credit experiential learning courses are a requirement for all first-year residential students and are highly encouraged for our first-semester commuter students looking to fully experience all that our university has to offer.

Information about our different offerings can be found below. Please note that TRIO, Promise Scholars, the Honors Program, and the Russell Scholars Program are all learning communities or programs that continue past your first semester. More information about these communities and programs and the requirements to participate can be found by clicking the links in the descriptions below. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to email us at usm.reslife@maine.edu

We are currently developing some of our offerings for the Fall 2023 semester and will be updating our website to include these options soon. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact erica.e.leighton@maine.edu. Thank you for your patience as we get things ready for you!

The First-Generation Student Experience LLC partners with two amazing programs at USM, our Promise Scholarship Program, and our TRIO College Program. As a member of this community, you will have both dedicated staff and peer support to help you make the most of your experience here at USM. This LLC focuses on empowering you with skills and resources to break down barriers that often exist for first-generation college students. In this close-knit community, you will learn the ins and outs of college and develop strong relationships with peers and mentors who will continue to support you past just your first semester at USM. In addition to the First Generation Student Experience COR 101 class, this LLC also houses students from our Success in STEM COR 101 classes, as those classes are run in collaboration with our TRIO staff.

The Honors Living Learning Community is for intellectually curious students, with diverse backgrounds and interests, who have been invited to join the USM Honors Program. Living in Honors housing provides you with convenient access to Honors-specific events and organizations.

Students with a 3.5 or higher GPA at the high school or transfer level are invited to join the Honors Program. Students who accept the invitation to join the Honors Program will be housed together in the Honors LLC. Living in Honors housing is encouraged but not required.

For more information about the Honors Program, visit their webpage.

The Rainbow LLC, which was the first of its kind at a Maine college or university, is for students who wish to live together on a community floor seeking to celebrate and support the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA+) community at USM. As part of the Rainbow LLC, you will engage in educational and social programming opportunities geared towards increasing knowledge and understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. You may participate in training opportunities around creating safe spaces, addressing and reducing hate and bias language and incidents, and will have the opportunity to engage in community leadership opportunities. Previous class outings and activities include participating in USM Safe Zone training to learn how to create safe spaces on campus for LGBTQIA+ community members, attending the Maine Youth Summit & Queer Trans Conference, visiting the Equality Community Center in Portland, volunteering with local non-profits who provide resources and support for LGBTQAI+ individuals, engaging with theater or art exhibits or shows related to topics around gender or sexuality, and connecting with other students and community members over dinner at local restaurants. If you would like to live on the Rainbow Floor as a first-year student but wish to take a different LLC class, or would like to live on a different floor but take the Rainbow-themed class, please contact Erica Leighton at erica.e.leighton@maine.edu.

The Russell Scholars Program (RSP) is an inclusive LLC composed of students and faculty who work together to help you achieve your academic goals. Classrooms, a study lounge, and faculty offices are located on the first floor of the residence hall that you live in. Every student is assigned an RSP faculty mentor who supports them throughout their USM experience. Regardless of your academic major, you are eligible to become a Russell Scholar as long as you are accepted as a full-time, residential student in your first year. In RSP, you take the required core and/or elective courses you need for a broad education, in addition to courses in your major field of study. RSP is pleased to have students from all four years in the program who continue to take RSP courses as their schedules permit and who take leadership roles in welcoming new students. Russell Scholars value connection, collaboration, and community — attributes prized in personal and professional life.