ThinkBig communities offer twist to traditional living

Freshmen at Tech have the opportunity to live in communities called The Freshman Experience, where students live together and participate in dorm activities forming long-lasting friendships with one another.

For a long time, other undergraduates did not have a campus housing option that fostered community living.

ThinkBig is a living-learning community that allows students to pick a topic of interest to pursue outside of the classroom. Students live in West Campus Apartments, Fourth Street Apartments or North Ave Apartments and participate in faculty-led events, discussions and outings.

Each topic is headed by a faculty member who plans all of the activities and outings for the 30 students in that topic.

Established in 2008, Living Learning Communities, such as ThinkBig, were formed as a result of a student engagement survey. This survey voiced the opinion that Tech needed more faculty-student interaction and a stronger intellectual community.

Because of this, Housing and the Office of Undergraduate Studies collaborated to form the ThinkBig program.

To be eligible to be a part of ThinkBig, students must fill out an application and pay an additional $150 to cover events and outings. This application is available at thinkbig.gatech.edu and is due March 1.

Each ThinkBig topic appeals to students by combining learning with exciting activities.

[email protected] is one of the new communities for 2012-2013.

“Participants will gain experience in outdoor skills, wilderness first aid, leadership and working with youth,” said Dr. Alfred Merrill, a professor of the School of Biology.

Other topics include ATL: the 411 on the 404, in which students explore Atlanta and Tech’s impact on the city, Humor: putting the HA in AHA, which explores types of humor and how they can impact technical innovation.

Some topics, such as Life in Art and Imagination and Music Matters, allow students to learn more about subjects that are not available as classes at Tech while Techie-Trekie: New Frontiers in Space and Thought for Food are more focused on expanding students’ hobbies.

“ThinkBig is a great program for people we want to do different things, both on and off campus. It’s a good way to get away from all the stresses of school,” said Charlotte Huang, a third-year ISyE major.

ThinkBig communities take advantage of the relationship between faculty and student by requiring faculty to visit the hall for a coffee hour once a week. A res resident advisory board exists for each community.

The advisory board is formed by ThinkBig residents to work with faculty members to further the topics based on the changing interests of the students. The board influences not only the topics offered, but the events that are planned throughout the year.

The increase from eight topics in the 2011-2012 year to twelve topics for the 2012-2013 year speaks for the program’s success.

For more information and the application for the upcoming school year, visit thinkbig.gatech.edu.