The Community theme guiding the Oaks programming for 2019-2020 is Emerging Adulthood. The theme has a three-pronged focus: thrive, information literacy and political engagement.
When students move into on-campus apartments, they’re forced to reckon with “adult behaviors.” Oaks residents are living independently, studying abroad, conducting undergraduate research, taking on leadership positions, working at internships, and engaging in deep inquiry in their majors. They’re also learning to live independently. And according to a study that analyzed 5,000 tweets that incorporated the hashtag “adulting,” that’s not a bad thing. “Are you surprised to see that the most common sentiment expressed by ‘adulters’ is positive? Adulting is a source of pride” (Risdal, 2016).
“Generation Z sees problems but wants to find solutions and knows how to wield their tools and knowledge to do so. We predict Generation Z will have a strong work ethic similar to Baby Boomer and the responsibility and resiliency of their Generation X parents, and they may be even technologically savvier than the Millennials” (Seemiller & Grace, 2016).
Through Late Night Noms and Neighborhood Dinners, residents have expressed that they need support being adults. In 2019-2020, the Oaks will focus on introducing students to diverse perspectives, learning how to be responsible and discerning information consumers, discussing what political engagement looks like, defining the concept of thriving, and more. Most of our events focus on some aspect of being an adult and what that means. We’ve had organic conversations with residents that transition from surface level, to in-depth and meaningful. This shows our residents are ready, willing and sometimes eager to go deep.
Residents of The Oaks and Park Place are supported by Elon as scholars and professionals, and they are interested in learning to integrate their academic life with their residential and social life. They want support learning to manage their residential lives — cooking, managing a living space, navigating relationships as adults while taking advantage of all Elon has to offer. In other words, they want more of their academic life in their social and residential life, and they want help making their residential life as productive as possible to support their academic life.
The Oaks Neighborhood Plan for 19-20
The Neighborhood Plan is an educational roadmap for integrating Oaks residents’ academic, social and residential experiences.
Neighborhood Student Population
- 670 students
- 32% sophomore
- 25% juniors
- 43% seniors
Facilities and Amenities
- The Oaks: 6 apartment buildings. Apartment styles include: 4-person units with single rooms; 4-person units with double rooms; 2-person units with single rooms.
- Park Place: residential apartment building over mixed-use space. Apartment style: 3-person units with single rooms.
- Neighborhood common areas: McCoy Commons with a Club Room (full kitchen included), multi-purpose room, and offices for Phoenix Card and Campus Safety and Police. Outdoor sand volleyball court and courtyard with tables and outdoor grill.
Colin Donohue is the Faculty Director of The Oaks.
Trianne Smith, the Community Director of The Oaks, lives in and supports the residential experience in the neighborhood.
Signature Programs, Social Traditions and Academic Experiences
Residents have an opportunity to learn from one another and hear from campus partners in an informal setting through various neighborhood programming. Colin Donohue, the Faculty Director of The Oaks, lives in the neighborhood and supports its intellectual life.
First Tuesdays – Neighborhood Dinners
Neighborhood dinners are intellectually themed social events. At Oaks Neighborhood dinners, AMs invite faculty to come together with students to discuss current issues in the world. Faculty members will be chosen based on their expertise in particular areas of interest as well as the AM’s interest in having dinner with them. These dinner conversations allow residents to explore the issues in the world and connect them to what they’re learning in their courses. They are informal, social, and the discussions are resident-led with conversation questions composed by AMs, Faculty Director and Community Director.
Second and Fourth Tuesdays – Late Night Noms
The Oaks Neighborhood staff has established Late Night Noms as a social tradition with a focus on the emerging adulthood theme. Late Night Noms runs from 8-9 p.m. in the club room. Each Late Night Noms has a theme, including wellness, productivity, sustainability and identity development.
Cooking Class With Your Professor
Cooking Class with Your Professor is a small-scale event in which a professor (with a partner from the Oaks staff) teaches residents how to cook a particular dish. As the faculty member teaches residents how to cook the dish, they are encouraged to share any other information about the cooking or the food within that faculty’s expertise (i.e. cultural significance of particular foods, food science, meal planning and budgeting, historical methods of preparation, sustainability and sourcing of the food, etc).
- Welcome Back Food Truck – A welcoming meal traditionally has been a hugely successful neighborhood kick-off event. Over the years, this event has had many themes, but the core goal to bring residents together, welcome them back to Elon, and provide them with the chance to meet their neighbors stays the same. ONA members are invited, giving residents their first Oaks opportunity to engage in informal intellectual faculty interactions.
- J-Term Book Club – The Oaks and the Station at Mill Point will partner to host a joint book club supporting the Winter Term theme.
- Winter Term Trivia – The Oaks will partner with other neighborhoods to host a trivia night with questions based on the Winter Term theme. Winter Term Trivia offers an opportunity for students who are here over J-term to be in community, knowing programming can be sparse during January.
- Neighborhood Dinner Celebrating Black and African American Civic and Political Leaders – The Oaks Neighborhood will partner with The East Neighborhood, The CREDE, and The Political Engagement Working Group to host a dinner inviting local Black and African American political and civic leaders to share their journeys and a bit about Alamance County history.
- Oaks BBQ (OBBQ) – The last Neighborhood Dinner of the year will be a bigger event held outside, with the goal to celebrate students’ academic accomplishments by providing a social “bookend” to the neighborhood’s social community. This event – with food, music, and yard games – provides a time for adequate farewells between faculty, staff and residents.