By Kelly Etheredge/Newswriter

Beginning this year, dorm residents have more opportunities than ever to get involved in their school and in their community. Housing has expanded on its themed floors, a system designed to keep students with the same interests together.According to Helen-Grace Ryan, the associate director of housing: “So far this year, the residents’ level of interest on the thematic floors has been phenomenal. Within the thematic communities, residents are getting the opportunity to be involved in something they are interested in and getting to know other people on campus. It’s very exciting.”

On their housing applications, students are given an opportunity to choose one of these floors or halls.

A very popular choice among freshmen is the Connextions First-Year Residence Hall, which is encomposses in Case and Palmer Halls. Connextions helps new students meet other new students as well as offers several programs to teach freshmen about life in general such as how to properly do their laundry.

Another popular choice is the Leaders Involved In Influencing Knowledged Educational Development, L.I.N.K.E.D., floor in Palmer Hall, which is for students who consider themselves to be leaders.

The Next Steps floor in Clay Hall is for upperclassmen, consisting of programs that address issues such as getting into graduate school and acing an interview.

The Sophomore 30-Something Community, also in Clay Hall, addresses issues such as picking a major and deciding on career direction.

David Fifer, a sophomore emergency medical care major from Roanoke, Va., lived is the Connextions Hall last year and enjoyed themed floors so much that he is now a resident on the 30-Something floor.

“My experience with themed programming has been positive,” Fifer said. “Especially for new students, it can serve as a catalyst for social interaction and foster a feeling of inclusion. College is intimidating at first, and the feeling that someone is concerned about you and what you are doing can be comforting.”

Students who are into wellness and exercise might want to be in the Students Working Out on Staying Healthy, S.W.O.O.S.H., Community. This community organizes competitive, on-campus sports teams and has programs about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

For those students who don’t go home on the weekends and need something to do, there’s the Saturday Night Living, SNL, Community in Keene Hall, which is very involved in volunteer and service work in the community.

Students on the Community Outreach Opportunities League, C.O.O.L., floors in Case Hall are also volunteering in the community, as they work with The Boys and Girls Club of America every other Friday. C.O.O.L students play games and have activities with the kids, as well as serve as mentors.

Another floor with a community service opportunity is the America’s Promise Community in Walters Hall. These students visit sixth graders at Clark Moore’s Middle School to teach them the importance of volunteering their time and talents.

The community-service floors have proven to be very popular. According to Amber Jones, coordinator for volunteerism, students love volunteering because it’s a fun, easy way for them to get involved in their school and community.

For those students who don’t live in dorms or on a themed floor, there are numerous other opportunities for volunteering. If you’re interested, contact Jones at or 622-2052.

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