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

2021-2022 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.

Astronomy, Disc Golf, and the Great Outdoors

Advisor: Dr. Jonathan Keohane and Scott Schmolesky

Would you prefer your classroom be the great outdoors? Do you like to play disc golf, or always wanted to learn the game? Are you interested in exploring local lakes, rivers, and streams by kayak or canoe? Do you wonder about our place in the universe? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then this living/learning community is for you! We’ll have some outings to play disk golf in the woods around Tadpole hole, kayak and canoe in nearby rivers, and stargaze at H-SC’s observatory. You will be enrolled in Introduction to Astronomy with Laboratory, which fulfills the College's laboratory science core requirement. No prior experiences in astronomy, disc golf, or paddling is required.

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.

Food adventures Latin American and Spanish Style

Advisor: Dr. Julia Palmer, Department of Modern Languages

Did you know that Argentina has awesome and authentic pizza? In this community of learners you are invited to explore some of the vastly ranging and delicious food cultures of Latin America and Spain in a one-credit seminar. As you learn about the typical dishes and beverages of different countries and regions, you’ll also embark on a journey of cultural discovery in which we’ll not only talk about food but the cultural significance of the different dishes, and how food is related to agriculture, economics, and sustainability. (Argentine pizza? This is because of the large number of Italian immigrants who settled there in the late nineteenth century.) In this community, we will specifically highlight food in Argentina, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Spain. Activities include readings and watching a film or two related to food and culture, preparing and tasting different dishes, and dining at restaurants that serve traditional platos from a particular country or regions. Students studying Spanish and prepared for SPAN 201 will be co-enrolled.

Gaming and Storytelling

Advisor: Ms. Maryska Connolly-Brown

From early man telling tales of hunting prowess around the campfire to watercooler talk about the epic MMORPG raid over the weekend, storytelling has always been a defining part of the human experience. This community seeks to explore the concept of narrative gaming through discussing, exploring, and participating in story-driven, table-top roleplaying games (TTRPGs). You’ll have the opportunity to participate in Extra Life (a 24-hour gaming marathon benefiting the Children’s Miracle Network), quest for adventure in Dungeons & Dragons, face eldritch terrors in Call of Cthulhu, travel through the stars in Starfinder or Burn Bryte, and try out a variety of storytelling themes and platforms. Participate as a player or try your hand as the Game Master. You will also be enrolled in Western Cultures 101 with Dr. Mike Utzinger. This class satisfies a core requirement and gives you a chance to work side by side with your Living & Learning Community. Adventurers of all experience levels welcome.

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? You've found the right community. Students in this group will be enrolled together in a one-credit seminar that completes a general education requirement, 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 & Fishing in Virginia

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.

Management and Organizational Behavior

Advisor: Dr. Ivo Gyurovski '09, Department of Psychology

Are you interested in the life of a business leader? Managers set direction, inspire people, plan, and monitor performance — so knowing how people think and relate to one another is important in organizing them. This learning community explores psychological concepts to give insight into practical workplace issues, both in class and outside of it. We’ll also bond together and to the college. If you’re interested in motivating others, understanding their perceptions, and learning how to effectively lead an organization, this learning community is for you. (Enrolls in FRSM 185.04 & PSYC 101.02)

Medicine and the Liberal Arts

Advisor: Dean Sarah Hardy, Department of English

Are you considering a career in a medical field? This Learning Community will give you multiple perspectives on medicine by having you enroll in three courses plus a lab (10 credits in all). In Dr. Sarah Hardy’s Literature and Medicine (ENGL 195) you’ll explore literary representations of medicine and illness (and fulfills a core requirement). In Dr. Michael Wolyniak’s Bioethics course (BIOL 130), you’ll confront the wide variety of moral and ethical issues facing scientists.  The courses and faculty will work together to help you make an interdisciplinary exploration of medicine and society. If you’re looking to benefit from student bonds forged in a set of common classes, this community is for you!


Advised by Dean John Hollemon

Are you looking for a community in which uniqueness of each member shines? Are you interested in dialogues and learning about the many aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion?  In this community we'll examine our roles in creating a society where everyone feels they belong. We will engage in open and progressive discussions on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, privilege, socioeconomic status, ability, sexual orientation, religion, and various other forms of identity. You'll have opportunities to participate in initiatives to spark innovative change in our community, engage the local Civil Rights history of Farmville/Prince Edward County, have access to a mentor through the Brother 4 Brother Mentorship program, and have unique opportunities to attend exclusive weekend retreats, conferences, and summits. This Community fulfills the mission of the College by preparing you to become leaders who will strive to alleviate social oppression through advocacy for social justice.

Pets, Predators, and Prey

Advisor: Dr. Daniella Widdows, Director of Global Education and Study Abroad

How did the Romans use elephants in war? Which dogs did the Greeks consider best for hunting? Why do we choose some animals to be pets and not others?  What would a map of animals at H-SC look like? This Living and Learning Community explores various symbolic and physical ways animals are integral to human culture, using ancient Greece and Rome as a starting point.  Animals surround us daily; they feed us, clothe us, help us at work and play, terrify and comfort us, amuse and challenge us.  We define ourselves through our relationships with them and discover the world through them. Join Dr. Widdows, Director of Global Education and Study Abroad, for this one credit course that will cover such topics as hunting, games, pets, and food.

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