BY PHOEBE KOLESAR
It was a hot and sunny September morning and the students of the CMAT Living Learning Community, or LLC, were out on the lawn of the quad, taking shade under huge trees while shaking hands and socializing with international journalists from across the globe.
While other freshman students were spacing out somewhere in a tiered classroom, listening to a lecture on the effects social media has on our generation, I was shaking the hand of Hasan Khan, a reporter all the way from Rawalpindi, Pakistan, who is currently teaching at the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.
He is telling me about his journalistic journeys, the countries he has traveled to and the types of stories he covered along the way.
After my CMAT 101 class ended, I went to lunch with a new sense of pride and privilege knowing I would not have had that opportunity if it was not for joining my LLC exposing me to such a culturally rich experience.
Fast forward a month later and I find myself in my professor Lori DeWitt’s kitchen teaching exchange students from China, Korea and Colombia, how to prepare and eat an American dinner classic: a baked potato.
After a very American dinner of chili and cornbread, baked potatoes, fruit salad and even cake for dessert, the LLC mingled with the international students discussing everything from comparing different laws in our countries, to our favorite stars on Gossip Girl or Big Bang Theory.
Meeting journalists from the around the world and making new friends from China through a wonderful dinner party thrown by my professor are just a couple of opportunities the LLC has granted me so far this semester.
At first, I was skeptical about applying to live in one. Only 20 applicants are selected on a first-come first-serve basis. If chosen, I would be required to take mandatory classes with the entire same group of people all year long.
What if this held me back from branching out and making new friends and new experiences on campus?
Upon my first day moving in, and already having a huge group of people to eat lunch with, I already knew I had made the best decision.
Living in an LLC differs from living with suitemates or cluster mates because we’re not only just living closely, but we all share the same common goal: to graduate with a major in communication arts.
Such a close-knit group of students attending classes together is also a huge benefit.
The LLC takes the term “community” to a whole other level. They are not just people I live across the hall from or share a bathroom with. My LLC became the closest thing I have to family here at Salisbury.
We bake cookies together, watch shows together and can have late night study sessions together since we’re always all working on the same class projects at a time.
Sophomore Kim Moseman is the residential assistant in charge of the LLC and resides with everyone else on the third floor of Nanticoke. Moseman was in the LLC herself as a freshman, and was advocated by Lori DeWitt and Chrys Egan, the CMAT LLC professors, to take action as an RA next year.
“There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted it.” Moseman said. “I think the LLC is such a great way to get started on your major. It builds such a strong community and I love all of the field trips we do.”
Next week, the CMAT LLC will be serving food at the HALO Homeless Shelter in Salisbury and then the week after, taking a trip to Washington D.C.
In addition to enriching fieldtrips, the LLC has the privilege of attending classes in the basement of Nanticoke.
Instead of running across campus in the cold to get to class on time, freshman Kara McCafferty says her favorite part of being in the LLC is just having to wake up and walk downstairs for class.
“There’s almost no possibility for me to be late.” McCafferty said.
Jacob Clarke is also a member of the LLC and he loves the aspect of getting to study together in such a close proximity.
“I just have to knock on someone’s door and I know they will be willing to help,” Clarke said.
My favorite thing about living in the LLC is the unique freshman experience it gives me at SU. Not everyone can take a trip to DC instead of going to class one day, or has a supportive circle of friends as passionate as they are about their career goals, or are even all working on the same speech at the same time that they can look to for guidance with.
Spending so much time with each other not only in our required major classes but across the hall from each other has flourished into a bond I could not imagine life at SU without.
With this being said, not every single member of the LLC are best friends, but at the end of the day we know that we have all started this journey together, and will share a connection not only throughout but past the time that we graduate.