Santa Clara University

Residential Learning Communities


  • Are RLCs only for students who live on campus?
No.  Every freshman is a member of an RLC, and you can – we encourage you to! – maintain your affiliation with your RLC for all four years you're at Santa Clara.  Sometimes students who move off-campus switch their RLC, which is perfectly okay. 
  • What courses can I take as part of an RLC?
Most of the courses for freshmen that are linked to your RLC are Core classes – Critical Thinking and Writing, Cultures and Ideas, and Religion, Theology, and Culture courses. Other courses that are linked to your RLC are mostly determined by student interest, which means that you'll probably want to take some of those, too.
  • Can I interact with members of other RLCs?
Certainly. Almost everyone has friends in other RLCs, people that you meet in class, in clubs, playing sports, and when you're just hanging out in Benson (the Student Center). Most RLC events are open to students from other RLCs, and more and more events are co-sponsored by two or more communities. Then there are things like the Mr. RLC contest and the annual Capture-The-Flag competition that bring students from all the RLCs together.

Check out some of the social events that keep our RLC members busy.

  • How will my RLC experience relate to my classes?
Here is what a freshman told us about her RLC course experience, which pretty much says it all:  "I really enjoyed having people on my floor in class with me. It is one of my favorite things, having the people I live with in a class together. It was great when working on projects or when someone got sick. We were all able to help each other out. On the plus, I ended up doing pretty well in the class winter quarter!"  

Bottom line: you'll discover that being in an RLC will help you succeed here at Santa Clara!

  • Do you have to be in a particular major to be in a specific RLC?
No. None of the RLCs are specific to a major. In fact, the themes of the RLCs are so broad that you might find two or three or five that sound good to you.

Explore the variety of RLCs here.

  • How are RLCs different from a dorm at other schools?
Seriously, on a day-to-day basis, living in an RLC is kind of like living in a dorm somewhere else. People hang out, study together, do intramurals, that kind of thing. 

But there's a closeness that develops way more quickly because of the community aspect of the RLCs. And the fact that each community has a theme, even if not that theme isn't out there all the time, makes it more fun and more connected. Also, you will take some classes with people in your RLC that will really make going to college more fun.

Here's another thing:  we don't have any freshman dorms at Santa Clara. So unlike at many schools, you'll be living with sophomores, and in some RLCs, juniors and seniors, as well as other freshmen. 

Which means that when you move into your RLC in the fall, there's already a "there" there. Our RLCs have a history and traditions that go back almost a decade. That doesn't happen in a freshman dorm.

  • How can I get involved in leadership within the RLCs?
Every RLC has a Community Council, which is the group of students that organize events and parties, and figure out the big decisions for the RLC. Anyone who wants to serve is welcome. After freshman year, you might want to apply to be a Community Facilitator (sort of like an RA at other schools) and become part of the next level of RLC leadership.

Find out more about the RLC Leadership Team here.

  • I can't figure out which RLC is the right one.  How should I choose?
There is so much more that is the same about the RLCs than makes them different. All of them have students from more than one year, all of them have leadership teams that include faculty and staff – most of whom live in the RLC.  And all of them focus on the community aspect of going to school.  So you really can't go wrong:  don't sweat your RLC choice!

Have a look at the various RLCs on campus.


RLC Contact Information

Residential Learning Communities
Santa Clara University
Santa Clara, CA 95053

Benson Memorial Center, Room 213

Phone: 408-554-4366
FAX: 408-554-4935

Director: Prof. Phil Kesten
Phone: 408-554-4311
Fax: 408-554-6965

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