Virginia Tech is pleased to welcome its third residential college community, the Leadership and Social Change College, opening August 2018, located in the newly renovated O’Shaughnessy Hall. The Leadership and Social Change College joins existing residential college communities, the Honors Residential Commons (in East Ambler Johnston Hall) and the Residential College at West Ambler Johnston.

The concept of the residential college offers new opportunities for learning engagement at Virginia Tech, which serves the largest full-time student population in Virginia. Well established at smaller liberal arts and Ivy League colleges, residential colleges have grown in popularity at public state institutions. The increased interactions with faculty preceptors and peers from all academic disciplines and years provides a thriving sense of community that supports academic and civic engagement.

Some aspects of the community are intrinsic to the residential–college environment, such as guest lectures, shared meals, educational seminars, and social events. The most important traditions are shaped and maintained by members. The residential college centers around the shared values of:

  • belonging to a supportive environment where members are responsible to each other,
  • curiosity and an interest in lifelong learning, and
  • engagement within and outside the community through active participation and service.

The Residential College Philosophy

Residential colleges are communities of students who share a deep intellectual curiosity. Members actively take part in lectures, discussions, social events, and other collective activities that create a sense of shared tradition around their community.

While many living–learning communities are primarily for first year students, the residential college model deliberately places freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students under the same roof. As a result, returning students play an important mentoring and leadership role. If they choose to, members have the opportunity to stay in the residential college throughout their time at the university, although they may transition to more private room styles as they become senior members of the community.

The residential colleges reflect all aspects of student learning, touching intellectual life, social life, and contemplative life. They give residents a space where they can govern themselves, in collaboration with faculty and staff members, in a unique academic atmosphere.

The collaborative environment offers many opportunities for formal and informal student leadership, as residents participate in governance of their community and mentorship for peers and younger members. The experiences students get from a residential college help them take learning beyond the classroom and apply it to all aspects of life.

When students graduate from the university and their residential college community, they will have gained more than knowledge in their chosen subject matter; they will possess experience in analytical thinking, creative problem solving, and finding common ground among diverse groups of people.