Residential Commons in Oxford

Eight SMU undergraduates and four faculty and staff members are exploring the birthplace of residential colleges: Oxford, England. With stops in London, Cambridge, and Bath, this group of residential leaders are searching to answer the question, “What is the culture of a true residential college system?” The students, faculty and staff hope to bring back ideas and traditions to enhance SMU’s new Residential Commons system.

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Back to the future

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An update from Residential Community Director Krystal K. Jones and Residential Life Assistant Director for Training & Development Eleanor Luna:

As our group flies home to Dallas and traverses several time zones, there’s that eerie feeling of time travel. When we land tonight, we will relive the evening we’ve just experienced in England, but then the sense that one has traveled back in time has become all too familiar over these past few days.

photo 4Our group has now spent a total of 10 days in London, Cambridge, Oxford and Bath. Many of us were reminded just how relatively young our nation, city, and university are, and we sometimes asked ourselves if these ancient customs would translate to SMU. In fact, one of our tour guides seemed shocked that we would want to “revert” back to an older way of doing things by creating a residential commons systems.

As the two residence life professionals in the group, we have spent the past 3 or 4 years respectively moving forward with the goal line as August 2014, and so we are left with a paradox. We have been moving forward toward this great goal, while also traveling backward to the classical way of housing students. It’s a lofty aspiration to institute a full residential commons system in one year, but after seeing the strength of the residential college pride in Oxford, we are assured that this system will only make SMU a stronger community.

August 2014 is finally here! This weekend we will welcome all of our Resident Assistants back to a completely reconstructed way of doing things, and we couldn’t be more excited to create the Oxford pride, rigor, and competition at SMU.

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