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February 8, 2013

New Housing Hosts Students Sharing Interests in Technology, Computer Science

The newest neighborhood on College Hill sits on Monroe Street, where students have taken up residence in 13 Learning Living Communities (LLCs) in college-owned houses.

With themes ranging from Chinese and economics to religion and theater, each LLC develops activities and events based on an academic curriculum. The houses are supported by faculty sponsors and have a small budget for core programming as well as large-scale events that benefit the entire campus.

Read about the Community-Based Learning and Research LLC

Monroe@ residents Ben Nitkin '15, l-r, Jordan Blake '€™15, and Kien Hoang '€™15 held a Cookies and Microchips study break event during finals last semester. Jamie Bandur '15, far left, is one of the students who joined them.

Monroe@ residents Ben Nitkin ’15, l-r, Jordan Blake ‘€™15, and Kien Hoang ‘€™15 held a Cookies and Microchips study break event during finals last semester. Jamie Bandur ’15, far left, is one of the students who joined them.

One of these new LLCs is the Monroe@ house, where three students share common interests in computer science, electronics, and technology.

“I was interested in the house because the theme was open ended,” says resident Ben Nitkin ’15 (Newton, Mass.), an electrical and computer engineering major. “I knew I’d be able to take part in many different activities. Coding, electronics projects, movie showings, and field trips could all fall under the house’s umbrella.”

The Monroe@ house has hosted movies, lectures, a study break, and many informal events. The students also work on projects together, such as the RFID (radio-frequency identification) lock they made for their door. Using about $100 of the house’s budget, they acquired an RFID reader and a small computer, which they used to install a system that allows their Checkpoint cards to unlock the door.

“I’ve really enjoyed the ability to collaborate with my housemates on a project, says Jordan Blake ’15 (Stroudsburg, Pa.), an electrical and computer engineering major. “Living in a house of students with the same interests made it very easy to discuss ideas and extend our knowledge outside of the classroom on a daily basis.”

Faculty advisers for the Monroe@ house are John O’Keefe, associate vice president for Information Technology Services, and Jeff Pfaffman, associate professor and head of computer science. The house residents, which also include computer science major Kien Hoang ’15 (Hanoi, Vietnam) meet monthly with their advisers, who assist the students with developing activities and events that support the theme of the house.

“Everything’s all right herewhat I’m learning in classes, a small group of people who are also interested in technology projects, some resources to apply what I’m learning, and the space to present it to the community.  This all combined seemed like exactly what I needed to push my learning to the next level,” Blake says.

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