This “whole person” approach helps you to develop healthy strategies for managing challenging situations and to make important decisions such as choosing a major and career path with a robust awareness of individual strengths and values. Through activities and discussions, you will cover a range of topics, including positive psychology, mindfulness, compassion, meaning, purpose, and self-awareness. The variety of topics allows you to develop multiple ways to manage stress and uncertainty while increasing mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Learning Communities (LCs) provide a supportive and educational experience for you and allow you to make friends who share your passions and interests. With a variety of LCs to choose from and teams of dedicated staff here to create a positive experience for you, LCs make it easier for you to connect with like-minded peers and the larger Mason community. The Well-Being LC, one of Mason’s long-running communities, is a partnership between Housing and Residence Life and the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being.
What is a Learning Community (LC)?
A Learning Community is a group of students who share common interests and come together to explore those passions more deeply.
Each LC has a dedicated team that is invested in the student experience and passionate about the topic area. In addition, some LCs have a required course that allows for a more in-depth exploration of the topic area and allows students to connect in the classroom learning environment.
LCs have engaging activities based on the LC topic that will elevate the overall residential experience.
Benefits of an LC include:
- A supportive, educational, and exciting experience with a community of your peers
- A team of dedicated staff that ensures a positive and supportive experience for you
- Fun, engaging activities that focus on the interests of your specific community
- Opportunities to connect with other students
- Access to academic resources and support from tutors, campus resources, and faculty
- Interaction with like-minded individuals so you can engage your passions and learn outside of the classroom
- Mentoring from upper-level students who have experience in the LC topic
- Events and programs tailored to the LC by content experts connected to that LC
In the end, LCs connect you to other students. It doesn’t matter which LC you join, but the LC experience will help you find friends, mentors, and support!
The Well-Being Learning Community is an option for all upper-level, residential students. If you’re a first-year student, consider the Health and Well-Being Learning Community for your first year and the Well-Being Learning Community for subsequent years.
Questions, Comments, Concerns?
The Learning Communities’ Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page has answers for you! Also, the official website is a great resource.
The Well-Being LC program is grounded in, and supports, the development of the following principles:
Strengths-based: Building a community in which members see themselves and each other as individuals with unique strengths that are growing and evolving is at the center of this LC. Viewing ourselves and each person in the community from a strengths-based perspective enhances positivity, efficacy, increases hope and optimism, and cultivates well-being.
Mindfulness-focused: Developing basic skills of mindful awareness allows community members to explore the present moment from a non-judgmental approach grounded in curiosity, kindness, and acceptance. Enhancing mindfulness skills contributes to the ability to respond skillfully to situations that may involve psychological or physical distress.
Values-guided: Helping community members to continually clarify personal values, so they can embody those values and contribute to the community through those values is central to this LC. Through clarification, students are encouraged to embody those values and share them with each other to create a safe, supportive space for all members of the community to thrive.
Self-directed: Acknowledging the fact that well-being is a process that must be directed by the individual encourages students to take active ownership of their well-being goals and to identify a path towards those goals. The Well-Being LC creates a safe space for students to assume personal responsibility for their own self-care while connecting them to various strategies and resources.
Responsibility: Being a member in the Well-Being LC supports students in working to understand and give meaning to their experiences and supports them in identifying coping strategies and integrative processes to promote personal well-being and community flourishing. Participation in the LC provides students with opportunities to consider how they will maintain this work beyond the LC experience.
Respect: Respecting and appreciating the highest good within each person, including protecting everyone’s rights to safety and eliminating discrimination and stigma, contributes to individual and community well-being. Self-acceptance and tolerance of others who have different beliefs ensures full participation and inclusion in the Well-Being LC.
Holistic: Appreciating the many elements of well-being points us to mind, body, and spirit, and also to the role of housing, financial stability, family support, social networks, sense of belonging, spirituality, mental and physical health, and academics. Our holistic approach to well-being recognizes that these many facets are in an on-going state of development.
Individualized and Person-Centered: Discovering our visions of well-being reflects the role of unique individual needs, preferences, experiences, and cultural background. This LC emphasizes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to well-being but many interpretations rooted in value systems that vary across culture and among individuals. The LC embraces discovering our own values, and learning those of others.