Southeast Missouri State University student publication

A deep dive into the Agriculture Academic Living and Learning Community at SEMO

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Students of all academic levels are offered an opportunity to live with other students who share the same interests and academic goals through special-interest housing at SEMO. The learning communities are unique to certain majors; the Agriculture Community is located on the fourth floor of LaFerla Hall .

The Agriculture Academic Living and Learning Community is composed of freshmen and returning students with majors and minors within the Department of Agriculture.

Senior agriculture business animal science major Beth Bangert has been living in the Agriculture Learning Community since 2018. She will be graduating with minors in chemistry, biology and an emphasis in pre-veterinary medicine and honors and distinction.

Bangert chose to live in the learning community as a freshman because of a tour she received from Hanna Crites, an alum of the learning community.

“By just walking through the community, you can see why it's called a community,” Bangert said. “Students are out in the lounge, playing games; it feels like home instead of a college dorm.”

The agriculture learning community does dip parties, chili cook-offs and bonfires at the farm when they are hanging out outside of class. Last semester, Bangert, along with many other agriculture students, started a softball intramural team.

The SEMO Collegiate Cattlemen, Livestock Showing Team, Horticulture Club and Agriculture Club Leadership Alliance, to name a few, are STEM student organizations the Agriculture Learning Community offers for students to join. These organizations can help with leadership skills, programming skills, mentorship and friendship.

“The learning community and Camp Redhawk helped with the smooth transition to college. Both these opportunities gave me built-in friends from the first week of school ‘til now,” Bangert said.

Senior agriculture animal science major Olivia Spurlin has lived in the Agriculture Learning Community since she transferred to SEMO as a sophomore. Spurlin was looking for friends and neighbors who shared the same interests as her, so living in the community was an easy decision.

“I enjoyed the transition; everyone was very welcoming and very excited to see new students join the community,” Spurlin said. “Last semester, we had a softball team with the majority of the agriculture community; it was a fun after-class activity we all enjoyed doing.”

Junior agriculture business horticulture major Ian Graves now lives off-campus, but lived in Laferla Hall for his first two years of college. Graves is a part of the Agriculture Club Leadership Alliance and a student worker at the Charles Huston Horticulture Greenhouse.

“It was a great opportunity to have the combination of the learning community at Laferla, and working at the greenhouse on campus provided so many connections,” Graves said. “Get involved on campus or get a job on campus or live in a learning community, because that is going to increase the number of connections you have on campus.”

Other opportunities SEMO offers to all students includes a pet-friendly community, a military and veterans community, and a gender-inclusive community in The Special Interest Housing Communities.

Learning communities welcome all students who share the same passion and drive as other students in their major. SEMO has 12 Academic Living and Learning Communities; the Agriculture Department is one of many.