Residential Learning Communities


All first-year liberal arts students at Purchase College participate in smaller intellectual communities designed to appeal to students’ different academic interests and learning styles. Students may choose from three different types of intellectual communities: Residential Learning Communities, Transfer Learning Communities, or First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs).


Students in Residential Learning Communities take a minimum of two courses together and live together in a freshman residence hall. The Learning Communities are coordinated by a faculty director who lives on campus and is therefore available for formal and informal advising, social and academic events and access all year.

So choose your Learning Community now! Places are limited.



Students in Residential Learning Communities:


  • live together in preferential student accommodations, are guaranteed a double room and have a specially selected resident advisor
  • work closely with and are advised by a faculty member who lives on campus
  • have a minimum of two courses and faculty in common
  • will be given special peer advisors and tutors
  • participate in special academic and extracurricular activities, including theatre performances, field trips, dinners, and celebrations with their faculty member-in-residence


Why participate?


  • to get extra attention from faculty, staff, and peer advisors who will help you excel and find informal ways of studying inside and outside of the traditional classroom
  • to get priority housing
  • to get to know other students who share similar interests
  • to join a community that lasts throughout your undergraduate years, to feel more bonded, more quickly, to the College and its academic and social life


2014 Residential Learning Communities:


  • Psychology in Everyday Life
  • WAKE UP!  Cultural Rebellion from Buddhism to the Present
  • Leadership
  • Spirituality and Society


Psychology in Everyday Life
(Residential Learning Community)

It takes a split second to recognize the face of a friend in a crowd or the voice of a loved one over the phone. The whiff of a few odor molecules can tell us whether our food is fresh and safe to consume or whether it has gone bad. While these processes of perception and recognition occur rapidly and automatically, they are the result of chains of events that are so complex and mindboggling that scientists have only begun to identify the steps of processing. This learning community will explore how perception is shaped by attention, emotion, and even culture. Students in this learning community will enroll in “Sensation and Perception” and “Freshmen Seminar” with Dr. Meagan Curtis, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Faculty Member in Residence. This Learning Community is intended for students who have a strong interest in the psychology major.

For more information, email:

WAKE UP! Cultural Rebellion from Buddhism to the Present
 (Residential Learning Community)

The Counterculture Learning Community explores some of the major countercultural themes in both the East and West, primarily through the text A Nation of Rebels and supplemental readings. The learning community will examine cultural rebellion alongside broader themes of trauma, desire, anatta (no-self) and awakening through art, film, literature, and philosophy.  We will trace the genesis of these ideas from some of the great thinkers of our time, including Buddha, Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, and many, many others.  The learning community will include readings from the Pali Canon in the Theravada Buddhist tradition and "countercultural" figures such as Richard Alpert (Ram Dass) and Timothy Leary. 
This Learning Community is challenging and includes a significant amount of reading and independent work.

Peter Polinski, Assistant Director of the Advising Center, will coordinate the Learning Community and also teach the accompanying sections of College Writing and the Freshman Seminar.


For more information, email:

(Residential Learning Community)


Who are you? Who are you in relation to others? What is your identity? Your social identity? Are you a leader? How do you know? Would you like to be someone who has more influence and control in your life? Would you like to learn more about yourself and others? Would you like to be a more effective communicator and manager of time? The Leadership Learning Community explores these questions and many more through various interactive discussions and group activities. Students enroll in this course and a Freshman Seminar and also enroll in a complementary course and College Writing section. Students will participate in a variety of activities aimed at considering concepts of identity, leadership, relationships, interpersonal and intrapersonal dynamics, and critical thinking in relation to being more effective leaders. There will be group trips and activities in and outside of the Purchase College campus. This Learning Community generally attracts students interested in psychology, sociology, management, and general Humanities disciplinary areas, including students who are undeclared.


Instructor TBA



Spirituality and Society (Residential Learning Community)


Although traditional religion may be on the decline, spirituality is alive and well.  New age gurus, crystal healing, reiki, neo-shamanism, astral projections, yoga, meditation and all sorts of other techniques, promises and products are offered in a burgeoning spiritual marketplace.  In this Learning Community we will explore this marketplace from a sociological perspective.  Using a method that sociologists call participant-observation, we'll talk with them, take part in and read about the way individuals, groups and institutions are searching for the sacred at the beginning of the 21st Century.  Students will enroll in Introduction to Sociology with Matthew Immergut as a foundation class to develop their sociological imaginations

For more information, email:

Updated April 1, 2014

Call or email the Advising Center:
(914) 251-3990