An update from Miroslava Detcheva, Faculty in Residence (FiR) for the McElvaney Residential Community:

The Residential Commons (RC) are opening their doors to all freshmen and sophomores for the first time in SMU history this August (2014). What once seemed like a distant dream, will now become reality in less than six months.

If you have been living under a rock and have not heard of the future RC model at SMU, it is going to be “an integrated academic and residential experience” with students welcomed into communities thriving on intellectual exchange and meaningful social engagement.

Currently, student leaders, residential staff and faculty have teamed up to create the identity of the eleven Residential Commons. Each community will be defined by its own unique traditions and meaningful activities. Visually, the commons will distinguish themselves through crests, colors, and their very own inspiring mottos!

Mira1The original RC system started at Cambridge and Oxford hundreds of years ago. While we do not have such a long-established RC history yet, Alex Hibbard, Carmen Minsal, John Ruggio, Jerry Staples, and I, aka the Dream Team, gather every Wednesday in a cozy little office on SMU’s campus to plan and establish what one day will become our very own traditions; I can assure you that the events and activities we have in mind are going to be as ambitious and inspiring as those of some of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world.

How did we get the “job”? Job Description – to dream and envision; Qualifications – to possess a lot of enthusiasm and creativity; Task – to help create a great community. So, now, the Dream Team meets every week, and we put our heads together to create the identity of our residential community, McElvaney.

According to the Oxford dictionary, “tradition” is “a long-established custom or belief that has been passed on from one generation to another.” As we plan, our goals are clear; we need to set the blueprints for a diverse, academically strong, socially exciting and inviting community where each student will contribute to the richness of the community with his or her uniqueness and will grow to love the community and regard it as an important part of his or her own identity. We are hopeful that the traditions we are creating now will be passed from one SMU generation to another. In our community, we will have it all: from glamorous nights out in town to rewarding service projects, and from informal gatherings in the Faculty Residence (my place!) to exciting and innovative academic adventures!

Each time the five of us meet, there are a lot of questions we have to answer, but one thing is certain: we realize that we are a part of a great initiative soon to transform the living and learning experience at SMU! We are making history!