Residential Curriculum


Residential Life at the College of Saint Benedict has a distinctive housing model where students live in residential facilities based primarily on cohort. A cohort is defined as students from the same academic year independent of credit standing. Our residential communities for each of the cohorts are modeled after our monastic founders’ communities as places where individuals come together as equals to create a caring, supportive atmosphere where all members can learn and thrive. We encourage all our community members to share their personal strengths and gifts in order to learn from each other and share in life events. 

Care, comfort, and support come from various places in our campus residential communities. Live-in professional staff serve as mentors and are active members of the community. They supervise live-in student staff (Resident Assistants and Community Advisors) who are trained specifically to build community and make connections with residents. The best communities are ones where each member is included in the community building process and is invested in their neighbors’ success and well-being.

In order to build this sense of community in the campus residence halls and apartments, the work of Residential Life is guided by three principles that are rooted in our institution’s Benedictine values and mission. They are:

  • Respect for All Persons
    • Respect is demonstrated through the awareness of self, the appreciation of others within the community, and acknowledgement of institutional values and expectations. Women at CSB will construct and solidify their identity by examining their own values, beliefs, and goals. Through this self-discovery process, they will learn about the values, beliefs, goals, needs and the expectations of other students as well as those of the larger community.
  • Developing a Meaningful Life Purpose
    • Developing a meaningful and purposeful life means that one must recognize how one’s own unique skills, talents and abilities interact with the rest of the world. Women at CSB will construct a firm foundation upon which to build their identity and purpose through learning.
  • Leadership for the Common Good
    • Women at CSB will recognize their abilities and have confidence in their individual and collective power to contribute to their communities as agents for change. Women’s leadership directly impacts residential communities through stewardship, respect for self and others, and an increasing understanding of one’s own identity. 

First Year Residential Experience (FYRE)

The First Year Residential Experience (FYRE) supports first-year students in their transition to the College of Saint Benedict through initiatives focused on academic, social, professional and personal milestones within the first year.

There are traditional large-scale programs that are part of the FYRE experience as well as student-led initiatives. Resident assistants take the lead in building community and connecting students with each other. All programming initiatives are grounded in the residential curriculum and specifically focus on the development needs of first year students.

Examples of area-wide events in the first year area include:

  • Fall Into Your Future resource fair
  • Healthy Relationship workshops led by Professor Kari-Shane Davis Zimmerman
  • The Game of Life career exploration, sponsored by XPD in conjunction with Residential Life

Smaller, student-led programs have included a campus scavenger hunt, yoga on the lawn, hikes to Lake Sarah or in the Saint John’s Arboretum, floor dinners, “girls’ nights in”, and floor- and hall-wide art/crafting projects.

Sophomore Residential Experience (S’moRE)

Programming efforts in Lottie, Margretta, and Brian halls specifically target the developmental needs sophomore students as they prepare to declare a major, study abroad, and prepare for the experience of their junior and senior years of college. Accordingly, the focus in this year is designing events and opportunities that further connect students to each other and the community—both at CSB|SJU, and the wider world—through large-scale programming as well as reoccurring, interest-based programs hosted by student staff members. As in the first year area, resident assistants for sophomores also connect with their residents through intentional conversations throughout the year.

Examples of programs for sophomores include:

  • Welcome Back Bonfire
  • Political & Civic Engagement Workshop
  • Study Abroad Prep Night, with participation by XPD and the Center for Global Education

Reoccurring programs in the sophomore area include crafting/DIY nights, attending Bennie athletic events and arts performances to support community members, late night and weekend events as well as specific programs targeting transfer, exchange, and international students.

Upperclass Residential Experience (Life Skills)

Life Skills programming is designed to assist junior and senior women in developing and fine-tuning life skills to ease their transition to life after college. Upperclass area community advisors (CAs) build community primarily through small group and individual gatherings, and serve as referral agents and resources for residents. Student staff in the apartments continue the model of intentional interactions and conversations.

Events hosted through Life Skills include:

  • Career Expo Prep & Internship Workshops
  • Money Management Seminar
  • The Fault in Our Cars (Car Maintenance Workshop)
  • Life Hacks