What To Know About Michigan Learning Communities - Part Two

Learn more from current MLC students.

By Michigan Learning Communities Guest Bloggers April 10, 2024
What To Know About Michigan Learning Communities - Part Two

Michigan Learning Communities (MLCs) are diverse groups of students and faculty drawn together by shared goals and common intellectual interests. They combine the personal attention of a small college environment with the unparalleled resources of a large research university. In this two-part mini blog series, MLC students will share some highlights of their personal experiences. 

Incoming students can apply for an MLC by the deadline: 11:59 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 6!


Alyssa Peek (Global Scholars Program)

As my first year drew to a close, I sought to discover a community where I could fully immerse myself in my sophomore year and beyond. As a Black woman with Caribbean roots, I anticipated the Global Scholars Program (GSP) would offer an ideal environment to connect with diverse individuals. I enjoy engaging with people of diverse backgrounds and absorbing their unique stories. The prospect of joining the GSP was a great opportunity to foster new connections, gain insights, and enrich my college experience.

During my initial semester in GSP, I made friends through our weekly commitment, CG, which stands for Collaborative Groups. These groups collaborate with non-profit organizations to work on different initiatives. Throughout the year, I had the opportunity to collaborate with a nonprofit organization based in Mexico City. During my involvement in CG, I have cherished some of the most memorable experiences, whether with fellow GSP peers or our peer facilitators. Peer facilitators are critical to the relationships in this organization. Many of the peer facilitators live in North Quad with the other GSP residents, which allows everyone to bond no matter how long they have been a part of the organization.

Another facet of GSP is the weekly Chai Chatter, offering an optional chance to engage with the community while enjoying homemade chai and snacks. Numerous student leaders and GSP residents attend to play games, have study sessions, or simply talk about their days. Having activities like this weekly has genuinely made my sophomore year, and I cannot envision spending the remainder of my college years anywhere other than North Quad with the Global Scholars Program.


Alyssa Peek

Bio: Alyssa Peek (she/her) is a sophomore studying Information analysis with minors in business and public policy. She is interested in the intersection of technology, law, and social justice. She is a first-year student in the Global Scholars Program, the current social media and office assistant, and will return next year as a residential advisor. Alyssa is also on the executive board for the Black Student Union, a research scholar for the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, and the diversity, equity, and inclusion chair for Kappa Omega Alpha Public Policy Fraternity.


Kiely Silva (Michigan Community Scholars Program) 

The Michigan Community Scholars Program (MCSP) is filled with good people. Students join because they are driven toward making the world a better place. First-years interact with each other through planned events, discuss and reflect upon themselves through facilitated dialogues, and venture out into new communities to give back. Though everyone shares a love for making the world a better place, each individual has their own way of working toward this. In MCSP I have made friends from different continents, of different majors, and backgrounds. People who want to make a difference through engineering, health care, education, and governance. It is a home where we celebrate our differences, problem-solve collaboratively, explore, and lift each other up. I discovered all of that in my first year. Now, I am a sophomore who gets to be a part of the creation of this enriching community.

I love being a peer mentor. I have amazing teammates who make my work fun. I have incredible mentors who support me in any way they can. And I get to interact with students who have individual worldviews and experiences. As a peer mentor I not only guide first-years through their pilot year of college and MLC, but I also get to understand them personally, talking about family, friends, weekend plans, and career interests. Through this experience I have fostered relationships with really stellar people, developed a safe and caring community, and been a part of other people’s journey at the University of Michigan.

I joined an MLC in search of finding a place to proudly call home. Not only did I feel comfort in my communities, but I felt like I had family to come back to every day. Through movie nights, game nights, karaoke, or just studying together, I had a place where I could relax and enjoy good company. I had neighbors who would offer me coffee on late study nights, lend dish soap, or just be down to watch a movie almost whenever. I had these relationships with the people I lived with because of our shared experiences through MCSP. I highly recommend joining an MLC because it provides the space and resources to form lifelong friendships and creates a home away from home.


Kiely Silva

Bio: Kiely is a sophomore at the University of Michigan. She is from San Jose, California and is majoring in business administration. She has heightened interest in business ethics and is excited to be a part of the Carson Scholars this year so she can learn more about business and public policy. Outside of classes, she cheers for Michigan All-Girl Cheer as vice president and is a peer mentor for the Michigan Community Scholars Program. She is a big foodie, loves her roommate to death, and often misses her cat Yuki from home.


Akari Yoshigai (Global Scholars Program) 

MLCs, or Michigan Learning Communities, bring together academic and residential experiences. Students in an MLC live together in the same residence hall, all coming together with shared interests and similar future goals. As a community member of the Global Scholars Program, or GSP for short, I’ve been living with peers in North Quad, and I’d like to explain five things you should know about MLC life. 

1.  Living in Residence Halls With Like-minded Peers

The residence hall experience of MLCs is the first and most important point of MLCs. Living with friends with similar backgrounds or aspirations can help students find a sense of belonging, create an environment that encourages collective support and growth inside the community, and stimulate learning both inside and outside the classroom. The members of my community, GSP, live together in North Quad, and other MLCs are located across campus: Lloyd Scholars for Writing and the Arts (LSWA) in Alice Lloyd Hall, Women in Science and Engineering Residential Program (WISE RP) in Mosher-Jordan Hall, and Michigan Community Scholars Program (MCSP) in West Quad, to name just a few.

2.  Participating in Specialized Courses

Another exciting aspect of each MLC is that they provide specialized courses, exclusive to their members, that contribute to our academic growth. These intentionally designed courses deepen our understanding of specialized and technical themes distinct to the MLC. In GSP, for example, all community members enroll in ALA 210 (Defining Critical Global Issues) in the fall and ALA 211 (Addressing Critical Global Issues) in the winter, both of which are taught by GSP’s director. These courses equip us with knowledge and give us a chance to discuss current global challenges.

3.  Social Events in the Community Group

Beyond classroom learning, MLCs offer many social bonding events throughout the year, helping community members get to know each other more deeply and build bonds. These events create opportunities for us to meet many new community members, oftentimes forging connections that could end up being lifelong friendships. GSP also has many social events from Chai Chatter every week to annual events like a Culture Show and Spring Formal. Through events like these, I was able to meet some of my closest friends at U-M.

4.  Supportive Faculty and Second- and Third-year Leadership Students

Within MLCs, second or third-year returning members serve as mentors who help the incoming first-year members. These student leaders not only organize many social events throughout the year but also make our first-years more lively and help us adjust to the MLC environment. 

5.  Collaborative Project-based Learning Opportunities

The last unique point of MLCs is that they provide many learning opportunities outside of the classroom. These hands-on experiences help participating students acquire not only specialized knowledge but also basic communication and professional skills that will prepare students for our careers after we graduate; not to mention, these experiences look very good on resumes! GSP has CGs (Collaborative Groups) that engage in partnerships with NGOs from all over the world, and we do projects to advance their missions in support of their local community members.

Bio: Akari Yoshigai is a current junior and a visiting exchange student from Hitotsubashi University in Japan, studying law and international relations back home. Her hometown is Chiba in Japan. Outside the classroom, Akari enjoys traveling, photography, and watching her favorite TV shows in her free time.

Michigan Learning Communities Guest Bloggers