In order to replenish excitement and energy to the University of Southern Maine’s Gorham campus, USM staff and administration are establishing specialized floors in the dorms for students with specific interests that promote academics through activities on various floors.
After seeing USM’s residential population at a low of almost 1,000 — short of an occupancy goal of 1,275, the staff at USM began to think up ways they could bring campus back to life. It was noticed that students who lived in the Living Learning communities —Woodward Hall’s Russell Scholars Program and Robie-Andrews’ Community of Arts — had much tighter connections to one another than those on regular floors.
Last fall, the Gorham Task Force along with President Selma Botman began planning new ways to engage students in campus life again.
The Living Learning Communities was one of the major ideas put forward, along with offering more classes in Gorham. After coming up with ideas and a plan, Botman put together a steering committee to manage the operations and implement the Living Learning Communities with some members of the Gorham Task Force and other members from Residential Life.
“I think that the Living Learning Communities will really revitalize the campus again,” said Student Body President Chris Camire. “It’s a great idea to put students with similar interests together. The students in the Russell Scholars hall had more in common, so they socialized better.”
Some students living on campus are also excited about the upcoming communities. “I think it’s a good idea because people who share interests will all live on the same floor and make better friends,” said undeclared freshman Damon Roy. “Personally, I would be interested in living in the Greek one. It would be cool to meet other people dedicated to Greek life.”
However, not everyone is in favor of these communities. “I think the Living Learning communities are stupid,” said sophomore business major Chad Tope. “They almost force people to form cliques and not talk to anyone outside of their dorm or floor. USM needs departments to come together, not separate them more.”
Tope said it would be more impressive if USM was able to have students with different majors working together more often.