By LAUREN MOSESSO
New this school year, the University of Mary Washington is allowing students to create their own Conceptual Living Communities. These communities allow students to form bonds and friendships over shared hobbies.
A CLC consists of at least eight upperclassmen students living together under a certain housing theme. There are four CLCs this academic year: Cooking and Games for Everyone (CAGE), Green House, International Living Center (ILC) and UMW Dead Poets Society. CAGE is featured in this issue of the Blue & Gray Press.
CAGE was inspired by a group of friends who enjoyed spending time together and who wanted to find hobbies that would unite them. For the group, this was cooking and gaming.
“We’re just a group of friends with varied interests, and we wanted something that would bring us all together in one community,” said junior biology major Kimberly Kerns.
The group’s love of cooking and gaming, including video and board games, is apparent. In fact, CAGE’s interview took place in a kitchen while some members cooked chili and others played games on their portable devices. Everyone present was laughing and having a good time.
Gaming that takes place in the CAGE community is not serious and competitive; it is done for the pure fun of it.
“We do gaming for fun and entertainment, not for competition,” said sophomore geology major Kadie Bennis. “We don’t have three computer screens in our rooms playing different games at once.”
All of the members of CAGE agree they have bonded in this CLC.
“We’ve all gotten so close” said sophomore Meredith Fierro.
“I enjoy our friendship and our strong relationships that form through our various events that we host and through living together,” Bennis said.
Members of CAGE room with one another and the rest of the CLC in suiting or adjacent rooms in Mason. Along with living together, CAGE is required to meet at least once a month and host an open event for all students and a closed CLC event every semester. However, this CLC meets many times more than that.
“We have big gatherings all the time,” Kerns said. “Our meetings and events are usually unplanned and spontaneous.”
The students in CAGE plan to continue the CLC next year since they enjoy each other’s company while doing activities they love. When asked how often CAGE members have an entertaining experience, sophomore psychology major Asma Noman replied, “We have one every day.”
At the beginning of every academic year, students wanting to join an existing CLC must fill out an application and gain the CLC’s approval. To create a new CLC, usually academic based, at least eight upperclassmen must fill out an application by Jan. 29, 2015 and be approved by ResLife. If a new CLC is approved, members will receive priority housing for the upcoming school year. Check out the UMW ResLife website for more information.