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

2019-2020 Learning Communities

A Bite of China

Advisor: Prof. Mengfan Ying

This Living and Learning Community will explore Chinese food and the culinary culture that accompanies it. If you enroll this one-credit seminar with Professor Ying, you’ll learn the rich history, culture, and philosophy behind Chinese cuisine. You’ll deepen your understanding of one of the world’s oldest enduring culinary traditions. You’ll read relevant texts, watch movies, and interact with Chinese people. Activities will include trips to local Chinese restaurants, as well as making (and eating) Chinese food together. If you love Chinese food, then this community is right for you!

Watch A Bite of China video

The Call to Adventure

Advisor: Dr. Steven Florczyk

Who are you and why are you here? In this Living and Learning Community, we’ll consider answers to those questions in a seminar through classic literary metaphors for life, such as Joseph Campbell’s “call to adventure,” as prompts to reflect on your new experiences at Hampden-Sydney. We’ll orient ourselves with the college’s mission statement and think through how it relates to your personal mission. We’ll look at the various academic disciplines at the college and the kinds of projects that professors and students do in each. We’ll chart out courses to navigate through the core curriculum. And we’ll discover extracurricular activities, on and off campus, that will also enrich you along the way. If you’d like to explore how to make the most out of college life and beyond, this community is for you.

For the Love of the Game

Advisor: Mr. Jason Ferguson (H-SC Class of 1996)

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.

Gaming and Storytelling

Advisor: Ms. Maryska Connolly-Brown

From early man telling tales of their 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 games. You’ll tackle the Hampden-Sydney Escape Room, 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, and be a guest at a themed murder mystery evening at the library. You’ll also enroll in Global Cultures 103 with Dr. Eric Dinmore, a class that both satisfies a core requirement and which includes a “Reacting to the Past” game. Adventurers of all experience levels welcome.

Watch Gaming and Storytelling video

Gods and Heroes

Advisor: Dr. Viktoria Basham

Do you like folklore and mythology? Are you fascinated by ancient stories about brave and strong heroes, evil and bloodthirsty monsters, wise wizards, and breath-taking quests? Then this Living and Learning Community is the one for you! The students in this community will be placed in Dr. Basham's Global Cultures 103 class which fulfills a core curriculum requirement. In this class we will learn more about folklore and mythology and we will look at stories, legends, and fairy tales from different cultures and time periods. Outside of class we will bond as a community through fun activities such as lunches, dinners, movie nights on campus and field trips. If you want to be a Hero and participate in this Quest for knowledge and fun, you will be rewarded! Being a part of this community will help you immensely with your understanding of and transition to college life, finding new friends, and forming a long-lasting bond with a faculty member.

An Introduction to Modern American Leaders

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

Advisor: Dr. Ryan Pemberton (H-SC Class of 2000)

This Community is ideal for any student who wants to learn more about current leaders in order to use that knowledge to improve his leadership skills at the College. Students will be enrolled in a one- hour seminar exploring the traits, characteristics, and lives of current leaders in the business, education, military, government, and athletic sectors. This class will be taught by Dr. Pemberton ’00. 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 for others, this Community is for you.

Masculinity and the Art of Fly Fishing

Advisors: Mr. Andrew Marshall (H-SC Class of 2017) & Dean Richard Pantele (H-SC Class of 2013)

Young men are increasingly losing touch with the world, the sport, and themselves. Masculinity and the Art of Fly Fishing is designed to help young men inherit a tradition, connect with the outdoors, and reflect on masculinity through adventures on the scenic rivers and streams of Virginia. Members of the community will co-enroll in Western Cultures 101, a core requirement for the college. Learn alongside your new brothers how to be good men and good citizens—moral and environmentally-conscious men, prepared to lead in your households, your communities, and your nation—and land a trophy trout on your way!

Medicine and the Liberal Arts

Advisor: Dr. Sarah Hardy

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.  Finally, Dr. Nicholas Deifel’s Techniques in Chemistry lecture and laboratory course (CHEM 110 plus CHEM 151) provide the essential chemistry foundation to several different scientific tracks at Hampden-Sydney and beyond. 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!

Popular Music

Advisor: Dr. Victor Szabo

This community will explore the history, culture, and sounds of popular music, from rock and rap to country and jazz, folk, pop, electronic and more. Students will enroll in Music 212 (fulfilling a core requirement). Outside of class, we will have music listening parties, attend local concerts, and watch music-themed films. Students will also have the opportunity to join Tiger Radio and host their own radio programs, and to collaboratively learn the basics of DJing and music production. If you love music, this Community is for you.

Professional Ethics

Advisor: Dr. Alexander Werth

This freshman Living and Learning one-hour seminar focuses on professional ethics and current ethical concerns in such different careers as business, medicine, law, government, the military, media, clergy, counseling, higher education, research, and sports. We’ll have guest speakers almost every week who bring different perspectives on how they view ethical concerns in their chosen fields — so you’ll learn not only about ethics but also which careers or academic fields you might be interested in pursuing.

Self and Society

Advisor: Dr. Gardner Harris

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 discuss "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 reflection on who you are in relation to the social and natural worlds.

US Military & National Security

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

Advisor: Lieutenant Col. Rucker Snead (H-SC Class of 1981)

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