A small group of students will live on Western University’s first indigenous Living-Learning Community floor this year in Delaware Hall.
According to Western, LLC’s are themed floors that offer students with similar interests the opportunity to live near each other. These floors have generally been interest, lifestyle or faculty-based, such as a music floor or a leadership floor.
The project is the culmination of a partnership between Western University Housing and Indigenous Services, with the purpose of creating a sense of community between those who have a shared experience.
Sean Hoogterp, Indigenous Services program director, said this is the first LLC floor dedicated to a specific culture.
According to Peggy Wakabayashi, acting associate vice-president of Western's Housing and Ancillary Services, Delaware Hall was thoughtfully selected as the indigenous LLC floor location.
“Delaware Hall was identified as an ideal location for this project due to its close connection with nature, being situated on the banks of the Thames River, surrounded by a wooded area,” Wakabayashi said. “The residence is also closest in proximity to Indigenous Services, which is located in Western’s Student Services Building.”
Apart from the proximity to like-minded peers, at times the residence will also welcome a visiting elder and hold smudging ceremonies — activities that an Indigenous Student Services focus group identified as something that would contribute to a sense of community.
Darr Sands, a third-year film studies student and a member of Walpole Island First Nation, came to Western four years ago. Sands immediately noticed that the city ran at a faster pace than he was used to.
"Students that come from reservations into the city, they definitely experience culture shock, and I think having something set up where they can feel more comfortable and at home is a great thing," Sands said.