In Fall 2021, UF will open a Living Learning Community for first-generation UF students to access academic support and community.
The First Generation Student LLC will open by Fall 2021 in the Murphree Area, said Dekendrick Murray, the Office of Academic Support’s assistant director. Living Learning Communities are groups in UF’s dorms students can join to participate in activities and have access to course offerings and resources related to their LLC theme.
“We're maximizing resources,” Murray said. “And we're pulling together different things to make sure that first-generation students are supported.”
First-generation students are the first in their family to go to college. They often lack the resources and generational knowledge about college’s fast academic pace and daunting social environment.
Some of the 16 existing LLCs on campus are the Arts LLC in Reid Hall, the Black Cultural LLC in Graham Hall and the Engineering LLC in East Hall.
About 150 to 175 freshman and sophomore students will live in the LLC, Murray said. UF Housing and Residence Education approved the LLC Oct. 5 and is now designing programs for students.
The First Generation LLC will give students a community of peers and resources.
There will be workshops on adjusting to the college experience and the professional world, academic advisors from the Office of Academic Support dropping by the LLC, study spaces and mentorship programs, Murray said. The residents will also be able to share an Intro to Natural History and Quest 1, a general education class for incoming students.
“We’re really joining together to create a united front for supporting first-generation students,” he said. “We call this the first-generation alliance.”
Murray hopes the resident assistants in the First Generation LLC will be first-generation students themselves.
Multiple first-generation scholarships and departments like Promise, McNair Scholars, Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars andFirst-Generation Student Success Officeare collaborating to bring students into the LLC.
Daniel Badell, UF Student Government’s First Generation Affairs Cabinet director, proposed the idea to the Office of Academic Support in May.
“For first-generation students, their family is a really great support system but only to the extent of the things that they know and they don’t know anything about college,” Badell said. “It can be a struggle to find your place in such a big community.”
UF Promise is a program that provides select students with additional support like workshops and access to Academic Support resources to help them adjust to life at UF. Promise also has an LLC for its recipients in the Murphree area in Summer B.
About 70% of Promise recipients are also first-generation students, Murray said.
UF Housing and Resident Education fund LLCs through the laundromats students pay to use in the dorms, said Mary Jordan, associate director of UF Housing’s Student Learning and Engagement. The amount LLCs get depends on how much students use the washers and dryers.
Another new LLC, the Marsha P. Johnson LLC for LGBTQ students, will come to Springs Complex in Fall 2021. It was also announced this month.
UF Housing and Resident Education is forming the two LLCs as part of a review and revamp of the department, Jordan said. Along with forming new LLCs, the department is looking at the accessibility of their buildings and increasing occupancy.
“Where you live is where you spend the most of your time outside classes when you are in college,” Jordan said. “Being able to have this great complimentary experiential residence hall experience is very exciting.”
Lianna Hubbard is a reporter for The Alligator’s Investigative Team. The UF women’s study major began as a freelance reporter three years ago. She founded her community college’s award-winning newspaper before beginning at The Independent Florida Alligator. See an issue in your community or a story at UF? Send tips to her Twitter.