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

2022-2023 Learning Communities

An Introduction to Modern American Leaders

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

This community is exclusively for those in the Wilson Leadership Fellows Program. While you may register for this community, only those who apply and are accepted to the Wilson Leadership Fellows program will be eligible for final acceptance.

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.

Argumentation and the Law

Advisor: Dr. Christopher McMillion, Department of Government and Foreign Affairs

Are you planning to go to law school? Have your exasperated friends and family members told you to be a lawyer because you are good at arguing? (That’s not how being a lawyer works, by the way, but it’s a fine starting point.) Are you just interested in seeing how logic and argumentation affect our legal system? This Living and Learning Community will foster your skills in debate and legal argumentation in dynamic ways. Students will enroll in a one-hour Moot Court course with Dr. McMillion, building a legal brief and arguing their case in a simulated appellate-court oral argument.  You will also attend and participate in debates, relax for law-related movie nights, and enjoy game nights that challenge you to think logically and act quickly.

Astronomy, Disc Golf, and the Great Outdoors

Advisors: Dr. Jonathan Keohane, Department of Astronomy and Physics,  and Scott Schmolesky, Director of High Adventure

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.

Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Advisor: Dr. Andrew King, Director of the Fleming Center

Explore the art of acting entrepreneurially from your first semester with this community. You’ll embark on an entrepreneurial pathway your first semester with a one-credit course focused on creating opportunities to deliver novel value to society — the foundations of creating a business or non-profit. We’ll go beyond the classroom to engage with alumni who founded companies and non-profits. We’ll visit small businesses. And we’ll attend brainstorming gatherings.  Enrolling in this program puts you in the best position to take full advantage of the entire entrepreneurial curriculum at Hampden-Sydney College. You only need the excitement to learn the art of entrepreneurial action — no business ideas required.

The Environment and the Great Outdoors!

Advisor: Dr. Scott Starr, Department of Biology

Are you interested in environmental issues? Do you enjoy spending time outdoors? Are you interested in completing the environmental studies minor? Are you interested in exploring the woods, rivers, and lakes surrounding campus and throughout Virginia? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then this is the living & learning community for you! Group activities will include hiking, kayaking, environmental movie night, and other activities. You will be enrolled in Dr. Starr’s BIOL 108: Environmental Biology course, which is one of the introductory courses for the environmental studies minor and also fulfills a class for the college’s core natural sciences and mathematics requirement.

Foodways: Exploring the World through Snacks

Advisor: Dr. Tara Stephan, Department of History

Have you ever wondered what kind of snacks people eat for fun in different parts of the world?  Can food give us different insights into other cultures than can a class reading? If you’re interested in exploring the world or simply like to eat, this Community is for you. We will explore snacks and foods as a gateway to different societies. In addition, students will be enrolled in a section of Western Culture in the fall and Dr. Stephan’s Global Cultures in the spring (required courses in the core curriculum), allowing for academic study of diverse societies and experiences alongside the culinary explorations of this Community.  Activities will include trying snacks from snack boxes, watching films related to food and culture, and other activities throughout the year. Join Dr. Stephan, professor of Middle Eastern history, and try some snacks!

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.

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.

Playing and Making Games

Advisor: Dr. Jacob Euteneuer, Department of Rhetoric

Who invented the game of Tag? Or Tic-Tac-Toe? What's the difference between playing football and playing a game of Madden? Or playing pick-up hoops versus playing NBA 2K? These are just some of the questions we will explore as we play and make games, real and virtual, across Hampden-Sydney's beautiful campus. Whether it is Pokémon GO, Exploding Kittens, or Super Smash Bros., this community will get together throughout the semester to play games, chat about game design, and we will even end up making a few new games ourselves. Students will be enrolled together in RHET 101 as we explore how writing and language shape how we talk and think about play, culture, and society. Together, the hope is that we will be able to learn and have some fun. Some might even say that's the whole point of life.

The Strategy Life of Gamers

Advisor: Thompson Professor Dr. Marc Hight, Department of Philosophy

This community gives preference to those in the Wilson Leadership Fellows Program. While anyone may register for this community, those who apply and are accepted to the Wilson Leadership Fellows program will be prioritized for final acceptance.

If you love games, are serious about gaming (especially strategy games), and believe that gaming can inform a well-led life, then consider this living and learning community and spend some time with like-minded individuals. Over the semester we will play some games—including some unusual ones—have some fun, and reflect about the role games can have in life. Some emphasis will be placed on the impact gaming has on leadership and life issues. You will be enrolled in an Introduction to Philosophy course together (where we will do some philosophy of gaming and philosophy of leadership). No prior experience required, just a love for living the gaming life and a commitment to your own education.

US Military & National Security

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

This community is exclusively for those in the Wilson Leadership Fellows Program. While you may register for this community, only those who apply and are accepted to the Wilson Leadership Fellows program or who are participating in the Army ROTC or Marine PLC Prorgrams will be eligible for final acceptance.

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 early in the spring with a final 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