Tulane adds ‘Spark’ to JL House with new Residential Learning Community


Joseph Kim | Associate Photography Editor

Josephine Louise Hall will house a new Residential Learning Community based on programming for women.

Tulane Housing and Residence Life plans to change the face of Josephine Louise House with the addition of a new Residential Learning Community focused on female-based programming and opportunities.

The RLC, named “Spark,” will be instituted in the Fall 2017 semester. It aims to engage women with activities including community service, alternative breaks and discussions about women’s activism.

Spark will introduce its female residents to alumnae from the Newcomb College Institute who live in the greater New Orleans area. The idea for Spark came from the legacy of NCI’s mission — to empower women and cultivate lifelong leadership. NCI plans to offer these services to the women involved in Spark along with unique programs that will diversify their Tulane experience.

University of Minnesota and Johns Hopkins University studies found that students involved in RLCs have an easier transition from high school to college. Residential Education Associate Director Danielle Klein said she believes connections and friendships between the women are inevitable.

“When you have to have connections between students, people need … to spend time with each other and learn each other’s stories,” Klein said. “That’s part of why that model exists. It allows people to make a smaller community within a larger community.”

Klein anticipates that Spark will help not only to ease the transition for incoming freshmen but will also provide them with an anchor that connects them to Tulane and New Orleans.

Both studies also found students living in RLCs feel increased motivation to study and collaborate with others.

Members of Spark will have the option to enroll in an affiliated Tulane InterDisciplinary Experience Seminar entitled “Being an Advocate for Women,” taught by professor Catherine Hancock. This TIDES course is not a requirement but aims to help members explore the ideas and beliefs that are relevant to their RLC.

Spark seeks to provide young women with a structured and tight-knit community that will help them develop skills and connections needed to be leaders in their communities.

Incoming freshmen can apply to Spark beginning March 1. Applicants will answer supplemental questions through the Tulane housing application and will be notified about their admittance to the RLC when housing assignments are provided during the summer.