First Year Experience

Freshmen Living-Learning Communities

What Is a Living-Learning Community?
Living-Learning Communities (LLCs) provide an easier way for students to transition academically and socially into the Drury’s campus. Similar to CORE 101, LLCs are organized around themes such as: The Arts, The Hunger Games, The Meaning of Life, Place 101, Pre-Health Sciences and Propaganda and Protest. However, unlike regular CORE 101 classes, students who are accepted into the LLC program live together in the same wing of a residence hall – Sunderland Hall. As a result, LLC students quickly form social bonds with their peers and CORE 101 professor. In doing so, LLCs bridge the gap between in-class and out-of-class learning.

What are the Benefits of Joining a Living-Learning Community?

Nationally recognized research has consistently shown a correlation between social wellness and academic performance. Students who feel comfortable with their peers are more likely to participate in class, have a higher rate of satisfaction with their class and are more likely to get involved in campus life.

LLC’s exemplify our commitment to creating an intimate learning experience and we wish that we could enroll all students in the program. However, due to size restrictions, LLCs are an application process and are capped at 15-16 students per LLC section. Students are not selected on a first-come first-selected basis. Drury selects students based solely on the quality of the essays received. Please read below for a list of this year’s LLC themes and the online application.

Faculty Mentors
Living-Learning Communities encourage strong mentoring relationships between faculty and students, as well as the value of developing communities of shared purpose. Nationally, research has consistently shown benefits of the faculty-student interaction in Living-Learning Communities to include:

  • Higher levels of student participation in class.
  • Greater student satisfaction with class.
  • Greater appreciation of the areas.
  • More involvement in campus life.
  • More time in group study (Pascarella and Terenzini, 2005).

 2016-2017 Freshman Living-Learning Community Themes - Six themes to choose from!

The Arts

The Arts LLC is designed for those students interested in music, theatre, visual arts and architecture. The course will explore all facets of art in our culture, how we view and respond to art, and the value of art to our society and world. Free activities may include trips to art galleries, theater productions, concerts and opportunities to view local architecture. All majors are welcome to apply for this LLC section.

The Hunger Games

This LLC section uses Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games as the basis for exploring and developing the skills needed to survive at college.  The class begins with a four week section on the things college students need to do in their first year to succeed.  We will read The Hunger Games in the second section of the class.  Discussions and research will revolve around such questions as the relationships Katniss Everdeen develops with other characters from District 12 and in the arena; the features of the Hunger Games arena and what these mean – both in the fictional world Collins creates and in our own world; and the messages Collins is communicating about the order of things in modern life.  In the last section of the semester, we will look at how The Hunger Games applies to modern issues – the unequal distribution of resources, the roles of government, and the utopian and dystopian features of modern life. 

Participants in The Hunger Games class will have the opportunity to do research on contemporary issues, utopian and dystopian societies, and other themes that are a part of Collins’s trilogy.  The class will be discussion and writing based, and will also include such outside activities as an evening at the archery range and working with the local organization The Convoy of Hope throughout the semester.    

The Meaning of Life - Honors Section

This section will address the meaning of life, arguably the most important question a human can ask. We will weave a path through Philosophy, History, Religion, and Psychology, seeking inspiration from leading philosophers, from Viktor Frankl’s search for meaning within a Nazi concentration camp, and from contemporary films. We will also work outside the classroom, seeking to complement our learning with experiences in our community. Our journey will include moments that are challenging, revelatory, ridiculous, sobering, hilarious, and inspiring. You may not come away with an “answer”, but you will learn how to think about the question.


Please visit the Honors website to find information on Drury University’s Honors Program and how to apply.

Place 101

This core class explores the idea of space and place.  We will read from writers such as Gaston Bachelard, Eudora Welty and Alain Botton about the experience of place and how it shapes our consciousness and informs perceptions of reality.  We will read excerpts from literary texts wherein descriptions of place play a major role.  We will also develop a writing portfolio of word sketches (and some drawing with mapmaking, floor plans and thumbnail sketches) of place drawing from observation, memory and imagination.

This course should appeal to students interested in all forms of writing, as well as those students interested in the creation of place as a component of a broader genre of work—such as theatre set design, graphic novel development, and architecture.  It should also appeal to students interested in history, philosophy, language, culture, international engagement, travel and travel writing. Students will investigate the concept of land ethic in various texts and contexts.

Pre-Health Sciences - Honors Section

Only those freshmen planning to pursue a career in a health-science field should apply for this Living-Learning Community section. The majors and programs in the following areas must be of interest to students interested in applying:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Exercise and Sport Science
  • Pre-Dental, Pre-Med, Pre-Nursing, etc.

The Pre-Health Sciences LLC offers the students in this cohort the opportunity to develop partnerships with one another, as everyone should enter with similar academic interests and career aspirations. Students enjoy the ease of forming study groups within their cohort and offer assistance and support to one another due to the high demands of the first-year science course load. The Pre-Health Sciences section may also take part in activities outside the classroom to learn more about their field of interest.


Please visit the Honors website to find information on Drury University’s Honors Program and how to apply.


Propaganda and Protest

The story of power and empowerment has long occupied the attention of scholars and advocates. This year alone, the “revolutions and struggles in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia and elsewhere were carried out by brave people who recognized that by using nonviolent action, rejecting fear, and keeping nonviolent discipline, they could end decades-long oppression.” Additionally at home, the social movements and institutional “crack downs” have raised questions about the rhetoric of propaganda protest and their function in our social and political landscape.

The foci of the course are twofold: explore the rhetoric of power and empowerment and review important principles for how these rhetorics function in particular cases. To this end, we will begin by examining theories of persuasion, influence and dissent. Then through personal testimony, underground publications, journalistic and historical accounts we will discover the extent to which the contemporary cases confirm, disconfirm, and/or extend our understanding of how institutions and their dissenters bring about significant and lasting social, religious and political change.

Instructional methods will include lecture, discussion, film, case studies, classroom exercises, and group work. The emphasis will be both theoretical and applied. The primary LLC theme-related activity would be an overnight field trip to Memphis, Tennessee to visit the Civil Rights Museum for tour, lecture and informal discussion.


How to Apply:

  1. Apply and be accepted to Drury University.
  2. Return your housing contract to the Drury Admission Office with Freshman Living-Learning Communities in Sunderland Hall marked as your residential hall choice.
  3. Pay the $200 housing deposit and $100 tuition deposit (refundable through May 1, 2016).
  4. Submit the online Living-Learning Community application.

If you have questions, please contact Emily Givens, Director of Transitional Programs, for more information at (417) 873-6894 or You can also review our Frequently Asked Questions.