Arabic, multiculturalism and communications will be added to the list of living and learning residential programs for next year, giving students some more exotic housing options than can be found in a traditional dormitory. The new programs will bring the total number of living-learning groups to 17, distributed through eight of Penn's 12 college houses. Programs currently exist in fields ranging from the humanities to the study of infectious diseases. In Gregory College House's Modern Languages Program, Arabic will join existing offerings in French, Spanish, German and Italian. The Modern Languages Program is one of the oldest theme-living programs on campus, having been established in the 1970s. Students in the program live with other students interested in the same language and attend seminars and movie screenings in that language. Program members are required to eat dinners in the house's section of Class of 1920 Commons, where discussions are conducted entirely in the a student's target language. "It seemed like a logical extension of the program," Gregory House Dean Chris Donovan said of the addition of the Arabic group, to be known as Al-bayt al-arabi, or "Arabic House." "There are a lot of Arabic-[speaking] students at Penn who don't have a lot of [support] resources," Donovan said. Community House is looking for students from diverse backgrounds for its new program, the Living Cultures Residential Program. This program is designed to explore international and multicultural issues, said Community House Faculty Fellow Joseph Sun, who developed the program's concept. "The vision really is to draw together students who share this common interest in this sort of multicultural, multi-religious living community and enjoying all that this sort of diversity brings to one's university experience," Sun said. Sun expects the program's activities to be "a mix of educational, scholarly and social activities that will focus on issues of race, culture, nationality and religion." He added that the program would be shaped in large part by the first year's students, who he expects will primarily be incoming freshmen. The living-learning group will have room for 42 students. Sun said the program will collaborate with other offices and departments on campus. The Greenfield Intercultural Center, the Office of International Programs and the chaplain's office have already agreed to work with the program's students, he said. Goldberg College House will also expand on its house theme of public affairs and culture with its new program in media and communications The program, still in its planning stages, will concentrate on politics and political communications but is open to students interested in any aspect of the fields, said College senior Jane Hill, a Goldberg House program assistant. Hill said the program will probably continue activities held by the house in the past, including trips to Washington, D.C., and symposiums and lectures on relevant topics by University faculty. "It's a good way of bridging academics and kind of a social theme with residential life," Hill said. All three programs will be accepting applications from current students as well as from incoming freshmen, to whom the options will be publicized.Comments powered by Disqus
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