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George Mason UniversitySchool of Business

Why Access Matters: Business Students Live Together in Special Residential Community

Written by Nikki Jerome Ouellette on .

Living Learning Communities

George Mason University's campus is its own residential community where students experience a large portion of their growth and development outside the classroom—at sporting events, on the Quad or in the Johnson Center, in conversations over dinner at Southside, through student organizations, and in residence halls. Students enroll from around the country and the world, from across the socioeconomic spectrum, and from every race and ethnicity.

The Living Learning Communities (LLCs) at Mason provide students an opportunity to live and learn together in an integrated environment with other students who share a common interest or major. For the past 10 years, the School of Business has offered a freshman living learning community for first-year students, but this year the program expanded, welcoming undergraduate students from all classes and fields of study who are passionate about new business learning opportunities.

This dynamic residential experience offers specialized programming, a connection to faculty inside and outside the classroom, and a supportive community of students, and it also makes a large university feel smaller.

“There are a great deal of benefits within the LLC, as students are exposed to additional experiential learning,” says Maxwell Gocala-Nguyen, assistant director of undergraduate recruitment and outreach. “Students who elect to participate in an LLC are charged no more money than the regular price of housing but are offered specialized programming, faculty and staff mentors, networking opportunities with our alumni, and career-readiness excursions and workshops. Students also have many interactions with school leadership to help pave the way for their experience and aid in the direction of the school.”

Special events range from dinners with the dean, welcome back dinners, alumni socials, and tours of local and national companies, to workshops with School of Business Career Services and the academic advisors.

For the past three years, about 20 students per year have participated. For the new expanded program in 2019, 88 students are participating in the business and entrepreneurship LLC. Each community allows students to connect with business- and entrepreneurship-minded students, gain real-world perspective from alumni mentors and panel discussions, and possibly secure an internship or grow a strong network for success.

On the Fairfax Campus, the freshman cohort (Business LLC) is housed within Franklin Hall, which is part of the Commons. Upperclass LLC students are located in Piedmont Hall.

“Throughout the year, our students become involved with organizations, nonprofits, government entities, and major corporations to understand their role in society, the economy, and our region,” says Gocala-Nguyen. “Living Learning Communities offer unique opportunities to expand [a] student’s classroom discussions to real-world settings, while interacting with our vast alumni networks.”