By Barbara Legaspi
University students who live on campus are more engaged and develop better, a study has found.
Almost all those who took part would recommend it to other students, among findings of the Australasian Survey of Student Engagement.
Monash University last year established four non-residential colleges to enhance students’ social and academic experience throughout their tertiary education, without the need to live on campus.
Caulfield campus hosts Pegasus and Phoenix colleges, while the Clayton campus hosts Centaurus and Orion colleges.
Non-residential colleges are about having a “different kind of experience” at university, says Olivia Clarke, Phoenix College’s student adviser.
“Advisers work in organising the members who are in their group (called clusters) and we get to work, bring the students together and basically form relationships with them.
“Also, all the advisers are a great support network for each other.”
A non-residential college functions like a club where students can meet new people, take part in sporting activities and attend social events.
Each college will have about 250 members, 20 college advisers (all senior students) and three members of academic staff.
“I’ve done and experienced a lot of things that I wouldn’t have without being in [a non-residential college]”, Ms Clarke says.
“Being a part of something that’s trying to achieve unity within the university” is important, she says.
“It’s just about mingling with students in a fancy, dressy setting,” Ms Clarke says.
The deputy head of Pegasus College, Andrew Johnson, says colleges are a great way to make social connections and create a better “campus culture”.
“The colleges offer a social network for students, and a different kind of engagement with university, beyond just books and assignments and so on,” he says.
“By getting involved with other students in fun, social and team activities students get a much fuller experience, and actually can learn a lot about themselves, as well as how to work with others which is in some ways more important for what they’ll do after university than some of the ‘content’ of their courses.
The non-residential colleges hosted the first annual ball for the university, the Cross College Constellation Ball, at the Lincoln on Toorak.
Students enjoyed a three-course dinner, dancing and a photobooth to commemorate the night.
For more information about non-residential colleges, click here.
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