Connecting advising, enhancing learning, engaging community

As freshman roommates and hallmates meet the new and challenging environment of college, they develop some of their most lasting friendships. For students participating in Living and Learning Communities - which combine the residential and academic functions central to a student's first year - the roots of these friendships become intellectual as well as social.

Learning Communities, a group of 9-12 freshman who are enrolled together in a class and live together on the same residence hall, are designed to bring together students, academic advisors, faculty, and peer mentors in a shared academic and co-curricular experience. They link the student to an academic advisor, to a course, and to the other students in his residence hall with the goals of creating a holistic learning experience that will improve the quality of classroom time, increase student success rates, and arm freshmen with the personal connections and decision making and self-advocacy skills essential to a successful and fulfilling college experience. From the very beginning, freshmen learn that Hampden-Sydney is a place in which ideas are not simply a part of the classroom, but rather a part of college life.

Freshman should consider joining a Living and Learning Community because it gives them a chance to fully immerse themselves in an interesting topic by living with the very people they go to class with every week. Communities were made under this pretense of learning, but the friendships forged with your community show the real value.

Christopher De Salvo ‘21

2020-2021 Learning Communities

An Introduction to Modern American Leaders

Advisor: Dr. Ryan Pemberton '00, Director of the Wilson Center for Leadership

This program is closed except for those accepted to the Wilson Leadership Fellows Program

This Community is ideal for any student who wants to learn more about impactful leaders in order to use that knowledge to improve his leadership skills at the College. Students will be enrolled in a three-hour seminar exploring leadership traits, characteristics, processes and styles. Leaders in the business, education, military, government, education and non-profit sectors will be studied. This community includes a class that fulfills a requirement for those pursuing the Leadership in the Public Interest minor. Outside of class, students in this Community will become involved in campus organizations, will have opportunities to meet with campus and community leaders, and will have special opportunities to be involved with events hosted by the Wilson Center. If you want to learn more about interesting leaders while doing good with and for others, this Community is for you.

For the Love of the Game

Advisor: Dean Jason Ferguson '96

This Living and Learning Community is for baseball players and fans - for those who are coming to H-SC to play or just those who enjoy hanging out and watching a game with friends. The Community is coordinated by “Ferg,” a former Tiger ballplayer and a long-time youth Coach in the town of Farmville. Students in this Community will have the chance to work with the local youth league, attend local and regional games, and share their love of baseball. Students in this community will also be enrolled together in a section of Introduction to Psychology, which satisfies one of the College's core requirements.

Guerilla Warfare

Advisor: Dr. James Frusetta, Department of History

Are you curious to learn about guerrilla warfare? Do you want to develop the dirty tricks and strategies you need to succeed? Do you like the idea of watching your professors navigate the paintball minefield that you've just set in the woods? Then this Community is for you! Students in this group will be enrolled together in a one-credit seminar discussing partisan warfare in the Second World War with a weekly practical laboratory in the woods at Hampden-Sydney — learn to camouflage, set ambushes, and gauge the most efficient patrol routes. We’ll hack the H-SC Escape Room and learn practical tricks on how to get information out of your professors. This Community is for those interested in applying theory to real life when it comes to insurgency and counter-insurgency. Leave your jacket and tie in the dorm for this class, ghillie suits optional.


Hunting in Virginia and Abroad

Advisor: Dr. Matthew Hulbert, Department of History

Are you a hunter? Are you interested in learning about the sport, discussing the ethics and principles of hunting, or in making friends on campus that share your interest? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions this Living & Learning community is for you. Discussions will revolve around ducks, deer, and everything in between, as well as recent news related to hunting in Virginia and beyond. We’ll also have a catered film night! Students in this community will be enrolled in Dr. Hulbert’s HIST111: America to 1865, which will involve its own fair share of the outdoors and an on-screen encounter starring Leonardo DiCaprio and one very annoyed grizzly bear.

Labor Camps, Crime, and Leadership in the Soviet Union

Advisor: Dr. Victoria Basham, Wilson Center Teaching Fellow

This program is closed except for those accepted to the Wilson Leadership Fellows Program

Fast cars, luxurious houses, wild parties, deadly weapons, massive bank accounts, and bodies covered in tattoos… After the fall of the Soviet Union Russian organized crime and the life of the ‘thieves in law’ have become a subject of immense interest to both Russians and Westerners — and a threat to public safety throughout the world. This class will familiarize you with Russian organized crime while exploring the ideas of leadership and citizenship from two different perspectives—the leader as a powerful political figure and the leader as a survivor and a messenger. Class concepts will connect to program sessions in the Wilson Leadership Fellows Program. Outside of class, students in this Community will become involved in campus organizations, will have opportunities to meet with campus and community leaders, and will have special opportunities to be involved with events hosted by the Wilson Center.

Seeing the World

Advisor: Dr. Eric Dinmore, Department of History

This is a Community for students interested in exploring the world - through classes at Hampden-Sydney, through future study-abroad programs, or simply an interest in new perspectives. You'll enroll in a Global Cultures course (part of the required core of the College), where you'll engage foreign histories, cultures, and experiences. But you'll also engage the world outside of the classroom through opportunities to view films, eat international cuisine and join campus activities. If you're thinking of studying or working abroad, this Community will connect you to campus networks like the Office of Global Education and Study Abroad and Dr. Dinmore, the community leader who has worked and lived in Japan. If you’re someone interested in traveling, studying, or working in another country, this Community is for you.

Self and Society

Advisor: Dr. Gardner Harris, Department of Religion

This community considers what it means to be human. The quest for understanding the nature of the self and the relationship an individual has to society and the wider universe has long preoccupied philosophers, artists, writers, poets, musicians, theologians, and scientists, to name a few. Students in this community will enroll in a one-credit seminar that will discussing "big ideas," music, film, technology, and current events. We will also visit museums, engage the local community, and, of course, eat together. Join this community if you are interested in further reflecting on who you are in relation to the social and natural worlds.

Taste of China

Advisor: Prof. Mengfan Ying, Department of Modern Languages

Are you a foodie? Do you want to explore Chinese cuisine and the rich culinary culture behind it? Then this community is right for you!! You will be enrolled in a one-credit seminar with Professor Ying, and exploring Chinese cuisine through unconventional hands-on activities, such as making Chinese food, eating in a Chinese restaurant, celebrating traditional Chinese festivals, etc. You will build up a refreshing understanding of the relationship between food and human beings, learn some recipes of simple Chinese dishes, and, most importantly, have an unforgettable and fun time with people who share the same interest as you!

Watch A Bite of China video

US Military & National Security

Advisor: Lt. Col. Rucker Snead '81, Department of Government & Foreign Affairs

This program is open only to those accepted to the Wilson Leadership Fellows Program or who are participating in the Army ROTC or Marine PLC Programs.

This Community is for the student who wants to learn more about the US military and its evolution from its founding to its role in today’s national security. Students in this Community will be enrolled together in a seminar, “US Military and American Society: Ideals, Institutions, and Issues.” In class students will analyze the evolution of warfare and the US Military; study the expansion of the tools of national power; and examine the current issues impacting the national security of the United States. Outside of class, students will participate in several exercises and attend events on topics dealing with national security. If you are interested in pursuing possible careers in the national security arena in fields such as diplomacy, intelligence, military, law enforcement, homeland security, or emergency management, this is the community for you.



Application Process

After you have been accepted to Hampden-Sydney College and have submitted your deposit, you will be invited to begin the housing application process. As part of that process, you will have the opportunity to opt into the Living and Learning Communities Program. Communities will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis starting in April with a deadline in May.

If you have any other questions, please contact Dr. James Frusetta | 434-223-7206

"I am a shy person by nature, and while I was excited to enter college, I was worried about creating an entirely new circle of friends in a strange place where I did not know anyone. The Living and Learning Community that I was part of helped ease that worry for me. I lived in a dorm hallway with all the freshmen who were in the same Living and Learning class as I was, and I quickly built up my own circle of friends. The class was fun, it challenged us to work together as students and as friends, and it gave us a reason to spend time together. The Propaganda Living and Learning Community was a big part of my freshman year, I would recommend it 100 percent to any incoming freshman!"

— Jacob Whitney, ‘21