Learning Communities (LCs)

Learning Communities (LCs) are an integral component of the PLU experience, adding to the learning that happens in the classroom and beyond. Many LCs offer linked courses for first year students that are thematically related to an LC. By participating in a LC linked course, that means your classmates for that course will be your neighbors. Students who participate in LC linked courses have increased community and academic support to promote success in their first year at PLU! Learn more about the PLU history of LCs and research supporting this learning model.

Residential Learning Communities (RLCs): Students who participate in RLCs, especially those that have a linked course, have increased: Critical thinking & academic outcomes; faculty & peer interactions; sense of belonging & satisfaction; diversity awareness and openness to new ideas

Themed by Interest/Identity

Diversity, Justice, and Sustainability For students interested in gaining an increased understanding of their cultural identities through reflection on values while learning how to create positive change in their communities. All first-year residents in Stuen will co-enroll in a linked First Year Experience Program (FYEP) writing 101 section on the topic of social justice. Community comprises three themed floors in Stuen Hall:

  1. First in the Family Wings For students who are first in their families to attend college (first-generation students whose parents did not graduate from a four-year, degree granting institution in the U.S.) with support to connect them to resources for success in and out of the classroom.
  2. Students of Color Wings For students who identify as People of Color (or not White) who are interested in exploring their racial and ethnic social identities and cultures.
  3. Environmental & Social Justice Wings For students who are interested in exploring the intersection of social justice and environmental justice and translating this knowledge into positive social change through leadership and action.

Gender Inclusive Housing Wings For students who want a gender inclusive living experience. Features all-gender wings with gender inclusive bathrooms that have enhanced privacy (open to all users, regardless of sex assigned at birth or gender identity). Single rooms and gender inclusive rooms are an option for students for whom sex assigned at birth does not match gender identity. Community comprises three wings: one in Hinderlie Hall, one in Tingelstad Hall, and one in in Ordal Hall (Lavender Community – see description below).

Harstad Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equity Hall Single gender community for women-identified residents with a focus on gender equality, community building, and programming that explores gender and empowers women. First-year residents will have the ability to opt into a linked First Year Experience Program (FYEP) writing 101 section on the topic of gender equity. Community located in Harstad Hall.

Hinderlie Community for Creative Expression Hall For students interested in a co-curricular focus on creativity and expression across all disciplines. All first-year residents will co-enroll in a linked First Year Experience Program (FYEP) writing 101 section on the topic of creativity. Community located in Hinderlie Hall.

Hong International Hall For students who are interested in a global study focus, Hong offers language-immersion (Chinese, French, German, Norwegian, Spanish) and International Honors (IHON) wings. All non-IHON first-year residents will co-enroll in a linked First Year Experience Program (FYEP) writing 101 section on the topic of global study. Community located in Hong Hall.

Lavender Community For students who are interested in exploration of the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, +) social identities through conversations, activities, and reflection. First-year residents will have the opportunity to opt-into a linked First Year Experience Program (FYEP) writing 101 section on the topic of social justice. Community located in Ordal Hall in the Gender Inclusive Wing.

STEM House For students interested in a living experience that includes co-curricular programming and learning about the fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and/or Mathematics). This community is great for intended STEM-related majors and also for those not majoring in STEM who would like to continue their learning on these topics. Community comprises four wings located in Tingelstad Hall.

Wellness House For students interested in conversations and activities that promote and sustain healthy lifestyles, including transitioning to college in a way that develops healthy habits around mindfulness, diet, exercise, substance use, time management, and mental health. Community comprises four wings located in Tingelstad Hall.

Themed by Year at PLU

Traditional Residence Halls: Transitioning Into and Through PLU Open to all students, including first years, new transfers, and continuing students of all years and ages. Traditional residence halls include: Harstad Hall, Hinderlie Hall, Hong Hall, Ordal Hall, Pflueger Hall, Stuen Hall, and Tingelstad Hall. Many of our traditional residence halls are configured by First Year Wings and New Transfer & Returner Wings:

  • First Year Wings For first year students, staffed by returning student leaders (RAs) to assist in the transition to PLU and the Parkland/Tacoma community. First Year Wings are located in traditional residence halls: Harstad Hall, Hinderlie Hall, Ordal Hall, Pflueger Hall, Stuen Hall, and Tingelstad Hall. Some First Year Wings have First Year Experience Program (FYEP) Writing 101 linked courses that correspond with their themed LC (see descriptions below).
  • New Transfer and Returner Wings For new transfer & continuing students (second year and beyond) with programming centered around academic support and major/career exploration. New Transfer and Returner Wings are located in traditional residence halls: Harstad Hall, Hinderlie Hall, Ordal Hall, Pflueger Hall, Stuen Hall, and Tingelstad Hall. 

Upper Division Halls: Transitioning to the Future/Career Preparation For students who are 20+ years or who have 60+ credits, these communities promote an independent living experience to support students as they transition into post-collegiate life. Upper Division student housing is located in Kreidler Hall and South Hall.

  • Kreidler Community Lounge For upper-division transfer, commuter, and veteran students, this community is located in the Kreidler Hall main lounge and is programmed in conjunction with the Diversity Center.
  • New & Returner Transfer Wings For upper-division transfer students (both new and continuing) who want a transfer student focused living community, this community is located in Kreidler Hall.

Learning Communities Philosophy

Residential Life works intentionally with PLU community members — students, faculty, and staff alike — to develop diverse Learning Community (LC) offerings across nine residence halls. The communities are organized across a variety of themes: some academically focused, some by interest/topic, some by social identity, and some by the stages students find themselves in at PLU. Each one continues to be developed with care, with student input and comparison research. The learning communities are assessed on a regular basis so Residential Life can understand how effective and meaningful they are for the students who choose to live in them.

Most importantly, all students — residential and commuter — are welcome in all of the halls and communities. Everyone is invited to most hall programs. Students are invited and encouraged to visit halls and wings even if they don’t live there, to make friends with peers, learn from offerings, and connect with faculty and staff.

Some students choose communities based on academic interest, such as an immersive language wing in Hong International Hall or in the STEM House in Tingelstad. Other students pick their campus home based on an area of interest, such as Hinderlie’s Community for Creative Expression or Tingelstad’s Wellness House. We also know some students prefer to live with a diverse group of peers in communities that are not organized by topic. So, we have intentionally held spaces that connect students based on their transition into, through, or out of PLU: for first-year students, new transfers and returners, and upper-division students.

Several of our newer communities, built around social identities, are a direct response to students who voiced a need for affinity spaces. Students told us those spaces were in demand, and we listened — especially to those who identify with historically marginalized and underrepresented communities. For students who opt into these affinity spaces, it’s an important step in finding a sense of belonging at PLU. They are a home from which the rest of the PLU experience can be explored.

Students actively choose the themes centered on social identity. For example, residents of the Students of Color Wing (in Stuen Hall’s Diversity, Justice, and Sustainability community) chose to live in that space because they self-identify as a Person of Color and are interested in learning alongside other students who identify in similar ways. This also is true for our Lavender wing in Stuen (for LGBTQ+ identified students) and First in the Family wings in Stuen Hall’s Diversity, Justice, and Sustainability community (for first-generation students). These identity-based communities provide an intimate, cohort experience for students who want to intentionally engage their social identities in their learning at PLU.

If you are curious about a particular Learning Community or residence hall, we encourage you to learn more! If you are a prospective student or community member, feel free to explore our Learning Community (LC) web pages and/or email the Community Director who works with that LC. If you are a current student, we welcome you to come to a program, get to know the Residential Life staff and ask us questions, or get to know your peers who live there to understand why they chose that space and what they love about that community.