Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Manresa Progam: The Freshman ILC Experience

My freshman year, I lived in Jogues, which houses the Manresa Program. Fordham offers three unique integrated learning communities for freshmen, the Manresa Program, Queen’s Court, and a floor in Alumni Court South for science majors, called SILC. Although I had my doubts the summer before coming to school, the Manresa Program turned out to be exactly what I needed freshman year. While I love being a sophomore and I love living in Finlay Hall (the sophomore residence hall that I live in now, which is not an ILC), Jogues was the perfect fit for me, and I will admit that I get a little sentimental walking past it from time to time! Because it is smaller than your standard freshman dorm, it really makes the transition from high school to college a lot easier, and the friendships that you make through an ILC are strong and founded in mutual trust and support for one another.  

The Manresa Program is designed for about 150 freshmen, which is small compared to other dorms. You take a version of one of the core classes in the dorm with the other kids that you live with, and you have a variety of choices based on your interests. Because our dorm is an ILC, we receive more funding for programming, in which almost all of the kids participate. Programs such as trips to the Brooklyn Bridge, thrift shopping, kayaking on the Hudson river, and even in-dorm programs that involve cooking and movie nights were always highly-attended. Community bonding is really stressed in the Manresa Program, and I can honestly say that I was comfortable with every single person in my dorm, and would have no problem knocking on any of the doors on my floor just to chat or hang out, even if they weren’t in my group of friends.
This isn’t the style of living that is for everyone, but personally, I absolutely LOVED my experience and wouldn’t change a thing about it. I made all of my best friends through Manresa, and formed close bonds with deans and professors that I would not have if I didn’t have the opportunities offered to me through this program. Community service trips were often throughout the year, and while you weren’t required to go, most kids just wanted to participate, because those are the type of kids that are attracted to the Manresa Program. If you’re interested in a strong community-based style of living, then I would strongly suggest considering Manresa, or any of the ILC’s offered at Fordham. Chances are, you won’t regret it. I definitely didn’t!

Some friends and I from Jogues after a Manresa service trip!

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