The Living and Learning community has been a really great experience all around — I've made a lot of friends and had a lot of good times. Perhaps my favorite event was our Clue night, although that might just be because I won both games.

Connor Black, ‘22

Past Learning Communities 2018-19

Bioethics

This Living and Learning Community is designed specifically for those students who are interested in science, ethics, medicine, or any combination of the three.  The students in this community will be enrolled together in a Bioethics course that will be taught by Dr. Wolyniak (and fulfills a degree requirement). In class, students will grapple with ethical issues being confronted by doctors and scientists as we move further into the new century-whether stem cell research, human cloning or the value of data obtained at the expense of human life. Outside of class, students in this Community will be given special opportunities to meet with alumni who work in the biomedical fields and to attend colloquia that focus on basic and applied research in these areas. If you are a student interested in engaging some of the biggest questions facing modern society, this Community will be a fun experience for you!
Coordinator and Academic Advisor:  Dr. Michael Wolyniak, Elliott Associate Professor of  Biology

For the Love of the Game

This Living and Learning Community is for baseball players and fans - for those who are coming to HSC to play or just those who enjoy hanging out and watching a game with friends. The Community is coordinated by Mr. Ferguson, who is 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.
Coordinator and Academic Advisor: Mr. Jason Ferguson '96, Director of  Admissions

Games: Modeling the Universe

This community is for students who like games - and are curious about how they "work."  Board games, RPGs, FPSs, LARPs, CCGs and strategy games all seek to simplify complex things. How do game designers do this? How do their "rules systems" work? What are they trying to do, and how do their creators try to appeal to us - or to fool us into thinking certain things are "fairer" or "more fun"?  You'll explore these ideas in a one-credit course taught by Dr. James Frusetta  - a faculty member who not only enjoys playing games, but who has published scenarios and even a gaming book. But we'll also connect to gaming opportunities on the campus including game nights, the gaming clubs, tournaments, and the College's annual 24-hour charity gaming marathon. If you like playing games - and especially if you like spading out how games work - this Community is for you.
Coordinator and Academic Advisor:  Dr. James Frusetta, Associate Professor of History

Going Old School

This Living and Learning community explores the history of Hampden-Sydney. One of the oldest colleges in the nation, it included among its earliest founders some of the most famous Virginians of the era, including James Madison and Patrick Henry - while Thomas Jefferson was among its earliest opponents!  Join Dr. Caroline Emmons of the Department of History as we explore the origins of the College through visits to local museums, historical sites, and battlefields - and consider it in the context of broader American history, enrolling in History 112 (which fulfills a degree requirement). As we consider these sites, we will think about the legacy of the College founders, including their role in helping shape the nation's founding principles, the slave society in which these men participated, and the ways in which their legacies still influence contemporary America. Afterwards, we'll gather for discussion - and maybe a little debate as we learn more about the College's historic origins.
Coordinator and Academic Advisor:  Dr. Caroline Emmons, Elliott Professor of History   

Heroes and Villains

"You either die a  hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain," states Harvey Dent shortly before his transformation into Two Face in the 2008 Batman movie  The  Dark Knight. Being able to differentiate between 'good' and 'bad' and to tell a 'hero' from a 'villain' has become a challenging and complex task in the world that we live in. This Living and Learning community will trace the development of the terms 'hero' and 'villain' and discuss interesting shifts in society's perceptions of certain literary and film characters over time through texts, films, museum visits, field trips, and interactions with the Hampden-Sydney community. If you would like to improve your critical thinking and analytical skills and to develop a deeper and more sophisticated understanding of the nuanced perception of 'good' and 'bad' while learning about intriguing heroes and villains, this Living and Learning Community is for you! 
Coordinator and Academic Advisor: Dr. Viktoria Basham, Visiting Instructor of Modern Languages

The History of German Soccer

This community will examine the origin and history of German soccer. It will also study the German style of soccer and how the Bundesliga (Federal League) has become one of the strongest and well-known soccer leagues in the world. To better understand soccer and how the Germans play it, we'll watch historic games, films, and attend games at H-SC and DC United - and study teams from the first league together in a one credit seminar. If you play soccer, like soccer or are interested in German culture, then this Community is for you.
Coordinator and Academic Advisor: Dr.  Joseph Rockelmann, Visiting Assistant Professor of  Modern Languages

Leadership

This Community is ideal for the student who was a leader at his high school and who wishes to continue to develop his leadership skills while at College. Students in this Community will be enrolled together in a seminar exploring leadership taught by Colonel Snead. In class, students will read case studies and biographies of successful leaders and will learn how to identify the qualities and practices of these individuals. 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 see yourself as a future HSC leader-perhaps a student body president or Student Court Chair or ROTC Battalion Commander-then this Community is for you.
Coordinator and Academic Advisor: Col.  Rucker Snead, Director of the Wilson Center for Leadership

Pets, Predators, and Prey

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 animal sacrifice, hunting, games, pets, and magical rites. 
Coordinator and Academic Advisor: Dr. Daniella Widdows, Director of  Global Education and Study Abroad

Self and Society

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.   
Coordinator and Academic Advisor: Dr. Gardner Harris, Assistant Professor of Religion

Whodunit?

Calling all mystery lovers - this living and learning community is for you! Students in this community will participate in a murder mystery dinner in the library. Each of us will playact a specific role as we try to figure who committed the crime. We'll also enjoy mystery movie nights and other events like dinners and tailgates.  All students will be enrolled in a four credit principles of biology course with laboratory (BIOL 110/151) that fulfills your core requirements for your degree. If figuring out whodunit excites you, come join this mystery solving community.
Coordinator and Academic Advisor: Dr. Kristin Fischer, Assistant Professor of Biology  

Words and the World

This Living and Learning Community explores the relationship between a thing in the world and the word we use to describe it. How does the language we use influence how we think? How might our understanding of common life experiences be informed by the way we talk about them? In this Community - and the one-credit seminar students will enroll in - we will investigate these questions through the sustained reflection of words central to the individual interests of each student, to the College community as a whole, and to the greater world around us. And as we consider words, we'll explore the world around us - through hikes, campus tours, trips to town, and shared meals. If you're interested in language, writing or how we define the world around us, this is a community for you.
Coordinator and Academic Advisor: Dr. Robert Irons '00, Assistant Professor of Classics

Past Learning Communities 2017-18

Assembling your Scholarly Toolbox: How to Succeed in College

Coordinator and Academic Advisor: Dr. Michael Wolyniak, Elliot Associate Professor of Biology
This community enrolls students in Dr. Wolyniak's Western Culture 101 course and Dr. Cristine Varholy's Rhetoric 101 course. Both required courses are great places to build the skills necessary to transition from high school to college courses. In these classes, students will consider the roots of Western civilization through examination of works and texts, using these to engage in discussion, writing, and research to develop the critical thinking and rhetorical skills essential for success in college-level scholarship. As a main project, students will develop questions about the time period under study and engage in a semester-long research project that will be presented publicly to the College community. This Community is suited to any student who is looking to gain experience in the research and communication skills that will get them up to speed for success at Hampden-Sydney!

Caesar and Alexander

Coordinator and Academic Advisor: Dr. James Arieti, Thompson Professor of Classics 
This community explores the careers of Alexander and Julius Caesar, the two most successful generals in antiquity, brilliant military strategists and phenomenally successful rousers of political loyalty. Find out how they managed these feats in a 1-credit course, "Alexander and Caesar" (FRSM 185). We'll examine their public and private lives-their triumphs and their failings. The course will meet one day a week over lunch. If you are fascinated by the unchanging nature of worldly success and its reverse and eager to discuss the ethical, psychological, and historical issues in creating and remembering such figures, this community is for you!

Developing Leaders   

Coordinator and Academic Advisor: Col. Rucker Snead, Director of the Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest  
This Community is ideal for the student who was a leader at his high school and who wishes to continue to develop his leadership skills while at College. Students in this community will be enrolled together in a seminar exploring leadership taught by Colonel Snead. In class, students will read case studies and biographies of successful leaders and will learn how to identify the qualities and practices of these individuals. 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 see yourself as a future HSC leader-perhaps a student body president or Student Court Chair or ROTC Battalion Commander-then this Community is for you.

Everything's Better with Music

Coordinator and Academic Advisor: Dr. Helena von Rueden, Assistant Professor of Fine Arts  
If you are passionate about music - whether it is listening, playing, singing, or writing - but haven't taken much professional training, consider this Living and Learning Community. We will actively engage in the musical world through activities such as film screenings, workshops, performances, and special access to and training in the Electronic Music lab in the new Viar-Christ Center for the Fine Arts. As part of the community, you will enroll in a special section of Music Fundamentals (fulfilling a general education requirement) that explores the concepts of rhythm and melody, develops your ability to read music, and includes experiences in performance and composition. If you love music, this is a community for you.     

Gaming through Stories

Coordinator and Academic Advisor: Ms. Maryska Connolly-Brown, Technical Services Librarian   
This community explores the concept of narrative gaming through discussing, exploring, and participating in story-driven games - ranging from PC and console games to board games to live-action games. Students who join this community will begin their college quest by challenging themselves to solve the Hampden-Sydney Escape Room and will enroll in one of the college's required courses, WCUL 101, with Dr. James Frusetta. We'll spend time out of class exploring gaming opportunities on the campus and in the surrounding community, including possible trips to gaming stores and gaming-related events, as well as participating in the campus' 24-hour gaming marathon for Extra Life and a murder mystery evening at the library. If you like playing games, this Community is for you!   

Guerilla Warfare

Coordinator and Academic Advisor: Dr. James Frusetta, Associate Professor of History                                    
Are you curious to learn about guerrilla warfare? Do you want to develop the dirty tricks and strategies you need to succeed in college? 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 plus a weekly laboratory in the woods at Hampden-Sydney. This Community is for those interested in applying theory to practice when it comes to insurgency and counter-insurgency. Bring your ghillie suit!    Picture: The Communications office should have images taken in FRSM 185 in Fall 2016 - the Community was called "Partisan Warfare" that time.  

For the Love of the Game

Coordinator and Academic Advisor: Mr. Jason Ferguson '96, Director of Admissions   
This Living and Learning Community is for baseball players and fans - for those who are coming to HSC to play or just those who enjoy hanging out and watching a game with friends. The Community is coordinated by Mr. Ferguson, who is 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 

Propaganda: Perception and Marketing

Coordinator: Prof. Viktoria Basham, Lecturer in Modern Languages Academic Advisor: Dr. Ed Lowry, Assistant Professor of Biology   
Do you know how to identify "Fake News"? Are you interested in the ideas and mechanisms behind one of the most powerful weapons of all times - propaganda? Do you want to know the history of propaganda's use and abuse, as well as its relationship to marketing, advertising, communications, and branding? Then this Community is for you! You'll enroll in a seminar course, "Propaganda: Perception and Marketing," where we'll explore propaganda's history, some of the most popular propaganda mechanisms, and its relationship to marketing. Outside of class we'll explore different dimensions of propaganda through field trips, conducting experiments and interacting with visiting experts in the field. Studying propaganda helps develop creativity and communication skills, crucial for educating independent and critical thinkers. If you are interested in jobs in journalism, communications, marketing, and advertising, this is the Community for you!

Seeing the World

Coordinator and Academic Advisor: Dr. Eric Dinmore, Associate Professor 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 - and good advice, since Dr. Eric Dinmore, the community leader, has worked and lived in Japan. If you see yourself as someone interested in traveling, studying, or working in another country, this Community is for you.   

The Skills and Literature of Fly Fishing 

Coordinator and Academic Advisor: Dr. Lee King '94, Vice President for Institutional Advancement   
This Community is meant for students who have a strong interest in fly-fishing and a desire to explore further their interests through practice and reading. Students in this community will be enrolled together in a one-credit hour seminar where they will read relevant selections ranging from Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River" to Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It to modern fly-fishing journalism. Outside of class, students will have the chance to share knowledge, and take trips to fish in diverse habitats-from small mountain streams to large rivers. Students enrolling in this Community should be prepared to take occasional weekend trips, be willing to camp when needed, and be prepared to bring all necessary fishing-related equipment to Hampden-Sydney.  

"I highly encourage everyone to join a Living and Learning Community if possible. I was in the Propaganda L&L my freshman year and it was remarkable. From taking group trips to truly remarkable and historically important locations such as Monticello and Maymont mansion to establishing a strong community in my dorm, this is an experience worth having! This program without a doubt contributed to both my college experience and to my growth as both a good man and a good citizen." 

— Bjore Samard, ‘21