SDLCs: Independent Living with a Purpose
August 5, 2013   //   By:   //   Real-world Learning
three male students on spiral staircase inside one SDLC house

Students inside the Senior House, an SDLC active during the 2010-2012 academic year.

Elizabethtown College has several housing options for students. When it comes to independent living, students have the opportunity to choose to live in a Student Directed Learning Community–more commonly referred to as an SDLC. These campus-owned houses dot the perimeter of campus.

The SDLC program began in 1992 as a way to get students involved in service outside of the campus community setting. In 2010, the program was revamped to better correlate with the College’s motto of Educate for Service while offering more real-world learning opportunities. The program now requires students to connect with the outside community on a deeper level. There are 11 houses, eight of which accomodate four students, two houses with five students and one home to three.

With such a unique opportunity available to students, the application process can become competitive.

In late fall, Residence Life notifies students of the opportunity to live in an SDLC. The application for the program is then available at the beginning of February. Students form their respective groups and obtain an application. The application requires the group to fill out a section together; each member completes a section, individually. During the process, students must identify a service agency with which they would like to work throughout the year. Their efforts will tie in with their goals as a group and also as an individual.

Students are required to find a learning mentor—a faculty or staff member—who will help the group and guide them if they run into any problems during the year.

After applying, students are interviewed by the SDLC advisory committee. Toward the end of March, student groups receive notice as to whether or not they were accepted into the program.

Last year Residence Life saw one of the larger numbers of applicants: 21 groups applied for 11 houses.

About the Author :

Cassie Meade is a 2014 graduate of Elizabethtown College.

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