Jumpstart your JMU experience by participating in a Residential Learning Community!

Students who participate in an RLC have the unique opportunity to live and take classes with a small group of students who share similar interests.

The benefits of living in an RLC include:

  • Special interaction with faculty members
  • A convenient, natural study group
  • Community service possibilities
  • A smooth start that weaves connections all across JMU

If you have any questions about the RLC application process, please contact Tripp Purks or give us a call at 540-568-HOME (4663)

Residential Learning Community Information

For students interested in majors in the College of Visual and Performing Arts

Together students will participate in a one credit seminar class that will:

  • Participate in the artistic and academic culture within the College of Visual and Performing Arts
  • Engage diversity in all its forms, specifically the ways diversity is portrayed and explored through the arts
  • Emphasis on the creative and interdisciplinary connection between the arts and other fields of study
  • Explore the processes of various artistic practices

The arts experience will be comprised of music, theatre and exhibition experiences shared in the newly renovated Wayland Hall, in venues throughout campus, and field trips to off campus venues. This will include student and faculty produced as well as field trip experiences and guest artists produced performances and exhibitions. 

Please note: If you are applying for the Visual and Performing Arts Residential Learning Community, your deadline to select a roommate is May 15, 2022. If you are selected for this RLC, any roommate(s) selected after May 15 will not be guaranteed.

For more information, email or call the
CVPA office at 540-568-7131.

The Environment & Sustainability RLC offers a unique opportunity for students from any major to experience living, learning, and personal development together as part of a community that is exploring a common interest in environmental problems and solutions.

This RLC takes engaged learning and personal growth to the next level, connecting students and faculty in a shared yearlong intellectual experience that makes a difference and builds lasting friendships. With activities that include workshops, field work, a long-term service project, campus service and career exploration, and discussions, students will develop knowledge and skills to enable them to better contribute to a sustainable future.

For more information contact Dr. Christie-Joy Hartman at 540-568-3202 or visit the Environment and Sustainability RLC website

The Haynes Learning Community is a community for incoming first-year STEM majors at JMU who identify as Black/African American, Indigenous/Native American, Latina/o/x/Hispanic, Pacific Islander, or as part of other underrepresented groups in STEM fields. At JMU, we recognize that these students are underrepresented in STEM fields on campus and nationally. The Haynes community will provide intentional and focused support for students who embody those identities, and connect incoming Haynes students with current JMU Students of Color in STEM majors.

All students are welcome to apply to be Haynes Scholars if they feel that they can contribute to and benefit from the goals of the program. Students will live and learn together while taking calculus in cohorts and exploring mathematical research together. Students of ALL backgrounds and ALL levels of mathematical ability are encouraged to apply.

The program will have openings for 16 Haynes scholars. For more information see our program website.

Who should apply?

  • Students who identify as Black, Indigeous American, Latinx/Hispanic, Pacific Islander, first generation or as part of other underrepresented groups in STEM fields. Students of all backgrounds are welcome to apply to be a part of this community.
  • Students of ALL mathematical levels who want to succeed in first-year calculus, explore mathematics in creative group research projects, and become leaders in their own STEM departments.
  • Students interested in majoring in Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics, or other STEM-related disciplines.

What do students in this program do? 

  • Take Calculus classes together in cohorts, with support from each other and from Haynes student leaders.
  • Take a course with Haynes Learning Community students and faculty on leadership, equity issues, and exploratory research projects in mathematics and the sciences.
  • Live and learn in a diverse and supportive community in Hoffman Hall and get to know and work with current JMU students in STEM majors.

Haynes Seminar

  • A series of public STEM lectures with emphasis on representation and social justice in mathematics and the sciences, open to all of JMU and the local community, during both Fall and Spring semesters.
  • Students in the Haynes Learning Community will take leadership roles in organizing the Haynes Seminar and interacting with the invited speakers.


The Haynes Learning Community is named after Dr. Euphemia Lofton Haynes, who in 1943 became the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics. Later in her career, Dr. Haynes chaired the Washington, D.C. Board of Education and helped end the tracking system that discriminated against poor and minority students in DC.

For more information contact Roger Thelwell at 540.568.5103 and/or Minah Oh at 540.568.4929

For students admitted to the JMU Honors College

The Honors College is a vibrant and diverse community of students and faculty excited to be engaged in intellectual discovery. The Honors Living and Learning Center strongly complements the College’s mission to develop and enrich this community. The Honors Living and Learning Center provides experiences and facilities for high achieving, highly motivated, and intellectually curious students to live and work together with one another, with other Honors students, and with faculty members to explore their mutual interests in learning and discovery, promoting the intellectual culture that is at the core of the Honors College’s vision and mission. Intellectual engagement is the driving force in programming for the Honors Living and Learning Center. In addition, the Honors Living and Learning Center encourages its members to participate in leadership and service activities.

First-Year Honors Scholars will live in the Honors Living and Learning Center, which is typically housed in Shenandoah Hall.  Entering first-year Honors students are expected, but not required, to live in the Honors residence hall. Honors students who come to JMU planning to live with a non-Honors student can also live in the Honors residence hall with their non-Honors roommate.  For more information about the Honors College, please see

Note that Honors students can apply to both the Honors and Trelawny Residential Learning Communities, and will live in the Honors Learning and Living Center, which is typically housed in Shenandoah Hall.

For more information contact the Honors College Office at 540-568-6953 or 

For students in any major who are interested in learning leadership tools, reflect on their leadership in a diverse world, and gain self-awareness.

Students in the Leadership RLC will participate in two academic classes over the course of the year that will encourage opportunities for growth and development of a personal leadership philosophy while evaluating current leadership strategies through an inclusive lens.

Students will have the opportunity to participate in and reflect on a real-life, applied leadership experience through seminar-style course discussions and outside-of-the-classroom leadership opportunities.

Additionally, the Leadership RLC will provide support, resources, and involvement opportunities from the staff of the Student Leadership Center.

For more information contact Michael McCleve or call 540-568-5902

For students interested in majors in the College of Business

The College of Business (MadisonBiz) Community complements the College of Business mission to prepare students to be engaged, principled business professionals and leaders, and advance scholarship in business disciplines. The MadisonBiz Community provides experiences and facilities for highly motivated first-year students interested in majoring in business to live and work together to explore their mutual interests in business.

The goal of the College of Business (MadisonBiz) Community is to create a living and learning environment in which students learn to integrate their undergraduate coursework with preparation for a professional business career, while gaining early experience interacting with a variety of faculty and business professionals. Pre-professional students who become adept at skills in reflection, professionalism, teamwork, and networking will be those who will provide leadership in the rapidly evolving and expanding world of business.

For more information contact Samantha Collier at 540-568-7415.

For students from the United States and around the world who want to live and learn together as global citizens.

What Do We Do in Madison International?

The Madison International is a vibrant and enriching residential learning community for a diverse cohort of students who learn from and about each other through a series of dynamic experiential and classroom-based activities including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Academic courses uniquely tailored to the participants in Madison International
  • Experiential learning trips
  • U.S. and international students living and learning together

Academic Requirements:

By design, the residents of Madison International complete together two courses which are developed and taught keeping their unique experiences in mind.  Such courses also satisfy other curricular or programmatic requirements at JMU.

MI participants are required to take the following courses as a community:

UNST 150: Global Learning and Living: Madison International (2 hour of credit)

Global Learning and Living: Madison International provides an opportunity for a diverse cohort of international and U.S. students to learn from and about each other through stimulating discussions, shared class projects, engaging activities in the larger community, intercultural residence hall programs, and the opportunity to participate in service learning.

UNST 151: Making Sense of Beliefs and Values: A Guided Tour for Global Citizens (2 hours of credit)

Making Sense of Beliefs and Values: A Guided Tour for Global Citizens explores the origin and nature of beliefs and values as they relate to religious, political, environmental, gender-based, cultural actions, policies and practices around the world. Through dynamic mini-lectures, experiential activities, readings, and dialogues, , this course helps students develop a deeper understanding of self, others and the larger world.

For more information contact Dr. Vesna Hart at
 540-568-5843 or visit the Madison International RLC website.

If you plan to follow a career path in education at the pre-K through grade 12 level, then the Roop (Teacher Education Learning Community) is for you. Imagine living and taking classes with a small group of students who share your interests in teaching!

Roop is open to all students seeking a degree for teaching Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, Secondary, Special Education, Art, Music, and Physical and Health Education.

During the course of your first three semesters at JMU, students in Roop take General Education science classes (ISCI 171, ISCI 172, ISCI 173) and core education classes (EDUC 300, EDUC 310) as a community.  Roop students have one or two of these classes together each semester with some of these classes being taught in your residence hall. Roop students also participate in community service projects, take field trips, and visit local schools beginning in your first semester at JMU.

If you are looking for an integrated learning experience that will help you build a sense of community and develop friendships that will last a lifetime and, at the same time, complete many of your required core classes, you are invited to apply.

For more information please contact Dr. Cindy Klevickis at 540-568-2726 or Dr. Robbie Higdon at 540-568-6791.

The Sports and Recreation RLC will provide first year Sports and Recreation Management majors with a group of students and mentors who share interest in exploring and experiencing recreation and wellness activities as a group.

Students will enroll in Foundations of Hospitality and Sport Management (SRM 202 fall and SRM 240 spring). The proximity of this RLC to UREC encourages participation and time spent interacting with those in the SRM field and participating in events together.  Students will have an integrated experiential learning and support group as part of their RLC experience made up of other first-year students, SRM faculty, and UREC staff and student leaders.

Additionally, students will have more access to UREC and SRM faculty through unique events tailored specifically to the learning community including, but not limited to the following: 

  • Academic experiences which allow students to connect on a broad level to the disciplines of hospitality, sport, and recreation management.

  • Experiential learning opportunities such as the TEAM Challenge Course, and additional team-based activities and service opportunities facilitated by UREC staff.

  • Participation in UREC’s fall and spring service programs (Warm a Winter Wish and Spring Break Service Trip)

  • Professional co-curricular experience such as networking events with the HART School Visiting Committee and membership in the Sports and Leisure Association of Madison

For more please information contact Aaron Combs at 540-568-8707 or Guy DeBrun at 540-568-8713

For Biology and Biotechnology first-year students with interests in science, biology and research

The Trelawny Learning Community (TLC) is designed for a small group of 10-12 first-year Biology students with interests in any aspect of biology, biotechnology or medicine – and especially research. TLC students will live together, participate in our Trelawny Seminar class in both Fall and Spring, and become involved in faculty research programs. The central goal of the TLC is to offer a select group of motivated students a unique opportunity to engage in the scientific process.

Note that Honors students can apply to both the Honors and Trelawny Residential Learning Communities, and will live in the Honors Learning and Living Center, which is typically housed in Shenandoah Hall.

Research Experience

The cornerstone of the Trelawny Learning experience will be the unique opportunity as a first year student to participate as a team member in a faculty research program. Each student will be matched to a research laboratory in Biology or Biotechnology where they will have a hands-on experience (see for more information on faculty research interests).

Academic Courses (BIO 140, 150, 201, 202)

TLC students will enroll in Fall (BIO 201, 1 credit) and Spring (BIO 202, 2 credits) Trelawny Seminars designed to support the TLC program. The rigorous seminars, through discussion, and extensive reading and writing, will explore both the scientific process and what it means to be a scientist. In particular, we will study the role and responsibilities of biologists in the local and global communities. We will see how science integrates in diverse fields such as medicine, biological research, environmental policy, philosophy and religion.

Incoming students are required to take our two first year core courses (BIO 140 and 150). TLC students will take these classes and if possible the lab sections together.

Off Campus Activities

An integral part of the TLC experience will be off campus activities – many scientific and others just plain fun. In the past we have visited zoos, watched whales, and toured scientific facilities. Anticipate two off-campus activities each semester.


An important part of the TLC is mentoring. Former TLC students and lead faculty of the TLC will individually mentor each TLC student. Further, each student will have the opportunity to become a mentor for local high school research students.


The goal of the TLC is to provide a select group of students opportunities well beyond the typical biology student’s first year requirements. TLC students will be expected to read and write extensively in the Trelawny Seminar and spend several hours per week participating in research. While we believe the TLC is a fantastic opportunity, please carefully consider if you are prepared for the commitment.

The Trelawny Learning Community is named after Dr. Gilbert Trelawny. Dr. Trelawny was head of the Department of Biology at James Madison University for 22 years. Through his work, Dr. Trelawny made a lasting impact on the University. He is admired for his work in building the department and supporting the development of undergraduate research programs.

For more information contact Dr. Corey Cleland at 434-284-0543 


Incoming first-year students can apply online starting April 1.

    • Be sure to read about all each Learning Community before filling out an application.
    • Students are selected for Residential Learning Communities through a multi-step process. Completing an application does not guarantee a spot in a learning community.
    • Please note: the eRezLife system makes the application look similar to a job application

General questions regarding RLCs can be sent to Tripp Purks or by calling: (540) 568-2882

Yes! Throughout your time living on campus and as a student at JMU you will meet many other people.  The RLC experience will give you a jump start on making friends who live nearby in your residence hall.

RLCs vary in size from as few 11 students to as many as 150. RLC Faculty Coordinators determine the size of the communities from year to year.

Students involved with RLCs will receive a specific invitation to choose a Move In Appointment. RLCs will move in in time for Welcome Events planned by Faculty Coordinators before 1787 programming begins.

Faculty Coordinators for each RLC will determine fun and engaging programming for students in their communities. In the past RLCs have hosted trips to Kings Dominion, shows at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton,  the National Aquarium in Baltimore, hikes on the Appalachian Trail, UREC’s Challenge Course, whale watching trips, and locally situated service projects.

Yes! Students who are involved in RLCs start college well and have the chance to build relationships with faculty members and peers in their residence halls right away.  Additionally many students quickly develop a sense of belonging and find a home at JMU through their RLC community.

Roop, Honors, Trelawny, MadisonBiz, and Madison International all offer ways for students to stay connected to their RLC community after their first year.

Interested students will complete the RLC application once their housing contract has been submitted.  Each application is reviewed by the respective RLC Faculty Coordinators.

Applications are available online beginning April 1 for students who have already submitted Housing Contracts. Depending on the available space in each community, applications may be accepted on a rolling basis after the submission deadline in mid-May.

Once all RLC decisions have been made, students will receive notification of their final standing in the selection process via email to their JMU email account (

No, in fact, your roommate is not required to be a participant in an RLC in order to live with you.

Yes, if you are both invited to be in the same RLC you can still room together.  Please remember that you both must be in the same roommate group and mutually request each other in order to choose the same room assignment.

Yes, as long as both RLCs are housed in the same residence hall.

RLCs are housed in Chesapeake Hall, Hoffman Hall, Paul Jennings Hall, Shenandoah Hall, and Wayland Hall.  Each of these halls are handicap accessible and fully air-conditioned. 

Once you have accepted an invitation to an RLC you are required to register for all of the required courses associated with that RLC.  If you fail to register or choose to drop one of the required classes, then you may be dropped from the RLC and given a different housing assignment.

RLC Faculty Coordinators

Residential Learning Community (RLC)

Faculty Coordinator


Campus Phone

Visual and
Preforming Arts

Sam Suggs


Environment and Sustainability 

Dr. Christie-Joy Hartman



Dr. Beth Arnold

Dr. Laura Taalman



Honors Living and
Learning Center

Dr. Brad Newcomer



Jess Beverly


(College of Business)

Samantha Collier



Dr. Vesna Hart

Jonathan Kratz 



(Teacher Education)

Dr. Cindy Klevickis

Dr. Robbie Higdon



Sports and

Aaron Combs

Guy DeBrun



(Biology and Biotechnology)

Dr. Corey Cleland


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