Building Community at the LSU Engineering Residential College

Transitioning to college can be much easier when you live in a residential college.

A residential college is a place where freshmen of the same discipline live, study and work together under the same roof. The LSU College of Engineering Residential College (ERC), or North Hall, houses 350 students studying computer science, construction management, or engineering.

The LSU "ERC" or North Hall

The LSU “ERC” or North Hall

“The benefits of living in a residential college are countless. Students who choose to live within a residential college community have access to resources and events that other students simply aren’t privy to,” said Derek Calderara, residential life coordinator for the North Community.

Living in a residential college comes with many perks. Numerous classes, supplemental instruction sessions and professor office hours take place in the same building where students live.

ERC "Monday Mashup" Night

ERC “Monday Mashup” Night

On top of academic help, ERC students also build a sense of community by making friends outside of class.

“Community is the sound of friends kicking around a soccer ball in the courtyard. It’s the silence of a study room being shared between a dozen students, and it’s the vision of faculty, staff and students all sharing space in the dining halls on campus,” Calderara explained. “We are all part of the same LSU community.”

According to ERC Rector Mark Rabalais, students who live in the ERC are more likely to graduate on time compared to their peers who live elsewhere. Rabalais said that the combination of the ERC’s community and academic perks is what contributes to students’ higher graduation rates.

“I think a sense of community just adds to the sense of belonging somewhere and increases your chances of succeeding,” he said.

Students form relationships and friendships with their classmates in the ERC for different reasons.

“Students often come together naturally whether it’s due to common interests in the same video games or sports, or simply due to coursework. Students have bonded regularly in developing study scheduling that match up with the challenging schedule they face,” Calderara said. “Most of all I notice the overall optimism and enthusiasm that radiates from almost all of our students in the ERC. Everyone seems genuinely happy to be a part of the community here.”

– Contributed by Danielle Kelley,
College of Engineering communications intern